|GreenPeace Image from Grist.org|
A recent GreenPeace study tested products made by 14 top clothing manufacturers and found traces of toxic chemicals harmful to the environment and human health.
The chemicals found, known as nonylphenol ethoxylates, break down into substances with "toxic, persistent and hormone-disrupting properties." Would you want to wear that?
How about impacts to water quality? When GreenPeace looked at the wasterwater from two factories that makes clothing for these brands, they found that:
"Eight samples of wastewater from two factories in the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas, identified as suppliers for the brands, contained "a cocktail of hazardous chemicals.'"
Do you think the executives of those factories would let their children swim in the water near these factories? Maybe that would be a good water quality test to implement...
If you want to support companies that offer solutions to this mess, how can you find them? Is organic really clothing better?
Clothing made from organic fibers (organically-farmed; e.g., USDA organic-certified) means that the crops (e.g., cotton) were grown without the use of synthetic pesticides. Since still more chemicals are used to process raw fibers into a textile, USDA organic certification of fibers is not enough to protect you from the types of chemicals found by GreenPeace.
For full protection, you need to look for organic textiles - those certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) to be made with (1) organically grown raw fibers AND (2) organic fibers that have been processed into a textile without harmful chemicals.
I talk a bit about this subject in my posts for Triple Pundit about how to purchase a green mattress.
It's great that GreenPeace is publicizing the importance of green clothing, which is clearly the better choice for the health of people and ecosystems alike.