We begin a new cycle of posts dedicated to all those toxics that you will not find in our organic cotton OCCGuarantee. We think that is an extensive and interesting subject we would like to do it a bit less unknown or even more known for you.
In the first place and to recapitulate, near 2,5% of the terrestrial surface consists in fields of textile crop and represents 25% of consumption of pesticides worldwide. This fact makes fashion industry the second most pollutant of the planet behind fuel. In Europe, some measures to control and limit dangerous chemicals have been established but considering the mass production scale of the textile industry and locating factories in countries with its own legislations, there is an important decontrol on the real use and dumping of some chemists.
There are several toxic chemicals in non organic textile clothing with devastating effects on the environment and very severe consequences for our health. These toxicants penetrate into the land, turning it barren; poison the rivers and seas irreversibly, contaminate the air and reach to cause illnesses and even death to farmers who work those lands.
But when and how do the toxicants get into fabrics? And, what toxicants are we talking about?
It is hard to believe that our clothes, these clothes that we wear so comfortably and we like so much, can make us harm, can be dangerous for the environment and even carcinogenic for humans. But it’s true. Toxicants start being introduced since the crop with pesticides, and continue during all the process: threading, weaving, desizing, degreased, bleaching, dying and stamping… An enormous quantity of chemical additives is used to produce a finished fabric: detergents, dispersing agents, desizing, enzymatic, softener, fasteners, optical bleachers, etc…
That said, we are going to talk about a very common toxicant: Alkylphenol.
A group of chemicals among which we find Nonylphenols (NPE), extremely dangerous and potentially carcinogenic. All of them are used during processes of washing and dyed. They are highly toxic for aquatic life, persistent in environment, that is to say, do not degrade or it takes very long, and bioaccumulative (that is accumulated in the alive organism and propagate through the food chain).
Alkylphenol, due to having a similar structure to natural hormones, can create disruptions of sexual character in some organisms as in the case of hermaphroditism in fishes. Different researches associate also Alkylphenol with problems related to fertility, development and leucoderma.
We, as Organic Cotton Colours, would like to cast some light and attention to this subject without any type of scientific pretence. All the information used for this post comes from Greenpeace Detox Report and from the articles about it from SlowearProject and FashionUnited.
In the next post, we will talk about Phthalate and Azo compounds.