there are not a lot of things in the world that will last forever. but there is a family of chemicals that we have created that will never go away, and as usual, they are severely toxic for our bodies. let’s find out why the fashion industry is using them and if they will be able to get rid of them.
what are the forever chemicals?
these chemicals, referred to as "forever chemicals," are resistant to heat, oil, and water. since they are resistant to almost everything, they will persist in our environment for thousands or millions of years because there is no natural process to break these chemicals down. perfluorinated compounds, or PFAS, are a family of around 9000 chemicals. they are used in non-stick cookware and in textile manufacturing because they are heat and water-resistant.
the cost of using forever chemicals
these chemicals are perfect for the fashion industry to make clothes that are stain, water, and heat resistant like luxury raincoats, outdoor jackets, and even your shoes. why are we having such a fit about it? there is a wide consensus among scientists that exposure to these chemicals has severe consequences. as they do not break down, these chemicals accumulate in us and are linked to cancer, liver disease, decreased immunity, hormone disruption, and a wide range of other serious health issues. studies have also found that compounds from carpets and clothes are breaking down and attaching to the dust. so we are also actively breathing in these toxic particles.
it took decades for the companies using these chemicals to manufacture non-stick cookware to acknowledge that they knew about their toxicity. two recent reports, as of January 2022, found detectable levels of toxic chemicals in our bedding, tablecloths, and yoga pants. at the risk of being repetitive, how can these chemicals be in our bedding when the exposure to these chemicals over time can be severely damaging and even fatal. what is happening?
we do not need water and stain resistance in our clothes. no one asked for it, especially not at the expense of public health. after backlash and severe criticism, the fashion industry announced in February 2022 that they would be phasing out these chemicals. brands like ralph Lauren have committed to eliminating the toxic use of forever chemicals by the end of 2022.
eliminating them completely from the supply chains is our only option.
all we can do is be aware and create pressure so that our governments would act to regulate these toxic substances that we are being exposed to without much thought.
stay safe. have a great weekend.
live sustainable. live aastey.