Podcast : Help! Our Clothes Are Poisoning Us
# F*____ (forego) Fossil Fashion –
# Sortir la Mode du Pétrole
Interview with Mary Nino, Head of CRS at ESMOD
Micro-fibers from plastic and textiles made from petroleum are polluting our air, water, soil, flora, and fauna. These « fossil fabrics » (polyester, Nylon, Lycra, acrylic, polyurethane, Kevlar, etc.) may seem cheaper than the natural, bio-degradable fabrics people have been using for millennia, but the true cost to society is far higher than their manufacturers might like for us to know.
Without even beginning to compute the cost of depolluting contaminated rivers and oceans, a simple attempt to calculate the cost of caring for people sickened by pollutants generated in the manufacture and use of plastics and “fossil fibers” renders the very high cost of these “cheap” materials glaringly obvious.
As this isn’t happening in a controlled, laboratory experiment, it is impossible to measure all of the impacts of these petrochemicals, among them carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
on human health.
Through wear and washing, these materials break down into nanoparticles, present today in every living thing on Earth.
They are expected to remain in our environment for ~ 1,000 years. Sadly, there appears to be little we can do once they have been released into our environment.
But, as one would do when a sink is overflowing, we can turn off the faucet.
If enough of us stop buying harmful products, manufacturers re-examine their business models. The smart ones adapt and get busy, to respond to an evolving market.
Some of these “synthe-toxic “materials are indeed very handy. But if we’re honest, most of us can manage just fine with more virtuous alternatives. Don’t you think that maybe a small sacrifice might be in order today? Besides, excellent alternatives exist, beautiful and comfortable new fabrics made with linen knits, water-resistant wools, and other eco-friendly fibers.
Many in government talk about investing in green businesses, and about bringing back industries that have been out-sourced to low-wage countries, something for which the apparel industry has become deservedly notorious.
Now is the perfect time to re-route some of the tax breaks and subsidies that have been going to the fossil fuel and plastics industry for generations, and support the production of environmentally -friendly textiles.
If we choose to invest in jobs and a sustainable way of life instead of more pollution from chemical fertilizers, pesticides ,herbicides, and the toxic waste generated by fossil fashion, then naturally cool linen, warm wools, organic cottons, strong hemp, even luxurious silks can all become economically competitive when compared with “synthe-toxic” materials. Innovative materials synthesized from cellulose in an ecologically-responsible manner provide still more choices for forward-thinking designers.
All that is needed is the political will to level a playing field that has been tipped in favor of the fossil fuel- plastics – petrochemical industry for too long.
Not long ago, organic and natural foods were thought of as strange by many people. Today many people understand the benefits of this model of food production for us all. We believe a similar evolution can and needs to happen with our clothing consumption.
Thanks for reading this!
Please spread the word, learn to read labels, find out before you buy whether a product has been made ethically and in a way that contributes to a livable future.