Textile Toxicity: A Latent Danger For Sports

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), textile production worldwide with the chemicals they use, mainly for dyeing, bleaching and washing clothes, endangers all athletes who practice sports .

Woman wearing sportswear

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The Woman Post | Juan Felipe Rengifo

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Leer en español: Toxicidad textil: un peligro latente para los deportes

The textile industry is considered one of the most polluting in the world, initially it was thought that its main impact was on the environment, due to the low percentage rates with respect to recycling of the main brands or the Fast Fashion phenomenon that dominates the market. However, the latest studies indicate a high load of contaminants remain in clothing and exceed what is allowed. This is evidenced and validated by organizations as important as the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Lead, the most frequent enemy

Being a heavy metal, lead is one of the great enemies for human health. Its presence in the body affects organs as important as the brain, kidneys, heart, reproductive function in men or serious effects on fetuses when women are pregnant. This substance is present in the pigments of zippers, snaps or waterproof clothing. The absorption occurs mainly through the pores or in the case of children also orally. Yoga pants, shoes and tops are the items of clothing with the greatest excess of this chemical element. Any percentage of lead, no matter how small, affects human health, so it should be strictly prohibited.

PFAS, a group of substances that increase the carcinogenic risk

They are a set of chemical substances created by man and used in various industrial processes, also included in the production of textiles. PFAS are used primarily to make clothing more durable, colorfast, stain resistant, or faster drying. The main problem is that these types of substances are practically impossible to degrade and are present as contaminants in practically all substances on the planet and increase the risk of cancer by a high percentage, mainly in the glandular system.

You can also read: Did You Know Why The Jeans You Wear Are Highly Polluting?

Bisphenol, another worrying discovery

A study carried out by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) of the United States found high levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in clothing from the brands Adidas, Nike, Champion, Patagonia, among others. Bisphenol A is present in polyester, a material that is present in practically all clothing items and exceeds the accepted limit for it to be safe for human health by 40 times.

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Like the other substances, these are also absorbed through the pores. Bisphenol in particular travels through the bloodstream and can cause serious alterations, mainly effects on the immune and endocrine systems, changes in behavior and a high risk of suffering from tumors due to constant exposure.

Washing and reading the labels: the two keys to reduce the risk

According to experts, to reduce the risks in clothing, it is best to wash them before using them. By doing this, the rates of chemicals that were exposed in their creation, packaging, and even transportation processes can be reduced by a high percentage, which also has a negative influence on clothing.

The second factor that must be taken into account is to read the labels carefully, avoiding as much as possible garments that have a high percentage of polyester, that contain prints or are dyed based on chemicals. Finally, another factor that can provide peace of mind is that sportswear brands have third-party certifications such as Oeko-Tex, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) or Bluesign, among others.

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