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This year, the Soil Association Market Report revealed a 6% growth in organic food and drink sales in the UK, totalling around £2.2 billion. We care so much about what we put in our bodies, even natural skincare is on the rise. But do we pay attention to what clothes we put on our skin, and should we?

The UK charity Prevent Breast Cancer, recently released research that found chemicals absorbed in to human tissue from fabrics. Although we can’t assume a direct link between these chemicals and cancer until further research is completed, it raises important questions on why what we put on our skin matters to our health.

“It’s important that we seek more information about what these chemicals do while they are in the body...The issue here is a broader one of how society uses and disposes of plastics and chemicals”

Prevent Breast Cancer

U.S. clothing retailers are not required to disclose the chemicals used in their garments and estimates can reach up to identifying 250 restricted substances used in textile manufacturing that pose potential health concerns. Even last year, Dr Martens recalled a collection of vegan boots containing high levels of a restricted substance. ASOS also recently discovered one of their studded belts to be radioactive, arguing it is not an uncommon issue due to the lack of traceability in their metals.

AZO dyes in the EU are banned due to their carcinogenic nature when breaking down. Yet large garment producing countries within Asia do not have these regulations and therefore AZO dyed clothing are easily imported. At Know The Origin we insist on knowing every stage of our organic garment’s production and can ensure no AZO dyes are used within our clothing. No nasty metal toxins and no carcinogenic substances, just 100% Global Organic Textile Standard certified dyes. 

No garment can claim to be “chemical free” as all clothing is treated with chemicals at some point, the issue is which chemicals are used and what are they doing to our bodies? From pesticides and fertilisers in producing natural fibres (except organic fibres), to the plastic compounds and chemical treatments used for synthetic fabrics such as polyester and acrylic, to the dyes. Wrinkle, water, stain and UV resistant fabrics also all require chemical treatments. Commonly used chemicals in clothing such as pthalates, APEOs and formaldehyde have been linked to numerous severe health issues. It’s enough to make your skin crawl.

Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and yet we have no idea about the effects of the chemicals it is consistently in contact with! Now that we know we are absorbing these chemicals in to our skin, what can we be doing to avoid any nasty outcomes?

  • Shop organic! We recently wrote a KTOTalk on why organic matters for our environment, but it matters for your body too! Love yo’ self.
  • Washing your clothes well before wearing them can help reduce the immediate reaction to chemicals
  • Push for more transparency in garment supply chains! Check out how Fashion Revolution is doing it.



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