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Why We Never Use Synthetic Fabrics


 Once upon a time, the production of clothing was simple; natural materials like wool, silk, linen and organic cotton were used for most apparels. But as the world has changed and demand for fast, cheap fashion has increased, large fabric manufacturing companies emerged, where mass production of clothing fabrics was carried out. As this industry grew, 'improvements' were made to the manufacturing process.

These so called 'improvements' included adding harsh chemicals to fabrics to prevent them from wrinkling and shrinking as well as artificial dyes and flame retardants. Then came the petroleum-based clothing industry, which is now a big culprit in the production of synthetic fibers and fabrics, which now plague the environment and risk our health.

 

Synthetic Fabrics Harm Our Bodies

There has been plenty of research explaining the damaging effects of synthetic fabrics on the skin dermatologic-ally, but your skin is also the largest organ of elimination and absorption. What we often forget to think about is that what goes on the skin also goes in the body. 

Conventional cotton is grown with genetically modified seeds and sprayed heavily with Roundup (in which the primary ingredient is glyphosate, linked to cancer) and other toxic pesticides—and these persist in the fabric even after manufacturing. Many textiles also contain chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals), ammonia, and/or other harmful chemicals. Add to that heavy metals, PVC, and resins, which are involved in dyeing and printing processes.

Many synthetic fibers are made of or contain polyester, which is a plastic and a by-product of petroleum. Polyester is strongly linked to hormonal disruption and the formation of breast cancer cells.

This health risk is not only suffered by the consumers, factory workers are exposed to the most extreme health hazards from the production and dyeing of synthetic fabrics. The process of changing petroleum into polyester is extremely long and toxic, causing these workers, (many of whom are children) to face an array of debilitating health risks.

 

Synthetic Fabrics Harm Our Water

It is reported that the clothing industry is accountable for over 20% of industrial water pollution in the world. When synthetic fabrics are produced and chemical dyes used, many of these chemicals become water products which are washed into our water. Most of these chemicals are impossible to break down, meaning the water is forever polluted. 

The water pollution is not limited to the production process. Every time synthetic fabrics are washed, microfibers drain into the ocean, causing huge damage to our precious marine wildlife.

 

Synthetic Fabrics Harm Our Earth

Each year almost 70million barrels of oil are used in the manufacturing of polyester alone. The crude oil is used in both as a raw material and as fuel to generate the necessary energy used in the process. Extraction of crude oil and gasses is one of the biggest environmental pollutants in our modern world due to both the everyday pollution to our air and land they cause as well as the tens of thousands of litres of oil spillages per year. 
Along with the damage that these fabrics cause to our planet and waterways during production, there are also many long term effects caused by their inability to decompose and therefore huge impact on growing landfill.
Australians buy an average of 27 kilograms of new textiles each year and then discard about 23 kilograms of this into landfill. Two-thirds of those discards are manmade synthetic/plastic fibres, most of which stay in landfills for over 300 years before they break down. 

 

At Sabii we only use 100% natural and organic fabrics which have been ethically manufactured with workers and our planet in mind. 

We endeavour to fight back against this growing synthetic textile industry aimed only at improving bottom lines with no consideration for the long term damage it is causing. 

 

 

References:

Austin Publishing Group

Goop 

The Sustainable Fashion Collective