How Important Is It to Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them?
If you have the habit of wearing clothes without washing them after you have bought them -think again.Philip Tierno, Ph.D. director of Microbiology and Immunology at New York University, at the behest of Good Morning America, uncovered some disturbing compounds lurking on clothing.
They may contain chemicals dyes and even insects.
Feces, Respiratory Secretions, Vaginal Organisms and More
A number of unsavory compounds can be found in newly bought clothes-pants, blouses, underwear, jackets such as :
- Respiratory secretions
- Skin flora
- Fecal flora
Swimsuits, underwear and other intimate items are most contaminated.
Tierno told ABC news:
“Some garments were grossly contaminated with many organisms … indicating that either many people tried it or … someone tried it on with heavy contamination …
“In a sense, you are touching somebody’s arm pit or groin. So you want to be protected that’s all … You may not come down with anything and, most cases you don’t, but it’s potentially possible.”
You could get hepatitis A, traveler’s diarrhea, mrsa, salmonella, norovirus, yeast infections and streptococcus and lice and scabies from them.
“The good thing is that most people have a very robust immune system, so they can usually fight off the small number of organisms they may get on their body … The fact that you come into contact with one doesn’t mean you’re going to get sick.”
Chemical Contaminants: Another Reason to Wash New Clothes
Your clothes may contain azo-aniline dyes from which you could get skin reactions –red, itchy, dry skin .
They can also contain Formaldehyde which is a cancerogen and can cause eczema rash .
Nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE), which break down into nonylphenol (NP) is a toxic, endocrine-disrupting chemical.
Chemicals May Lurk in Your Clothing Even After Washing
Such are triclosan, which may cause hormone regulation and may interfere with fetal development, fertility and antibiotic resistant and cancer risks.
-Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which is toxic.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) explained:
“The chemicals used in cotton production don’t end with cultivation. As an aid in harvesting, herbicides are used to defoliate the plants, making picking easier.”
“Producing a textile from the plants involves more chemicals in the process of bleaching, sizing, dying, straightening, shrink reduction, stain and odor resistance, fireproofing, mothproofing, and static- and wrinkle-reduction.”
“Some of these chemicals are applied with heat, thus bonding them to the cotton fibers. Several washings are done throughout the process, but some of the softeners and detergents leave a residue that will not totally be removed from the final product.”
“Chemicals often used for finishing include formaldehyde, caustic soda, sulfuric acid, bromines, urea resins, sulfonamides, halogens, and bromines.”
“Some imported clothes are now impregnated with long-lasting disinfectants which are very hard to remove, and whose smell gives them away. These and the other chemical residues affect people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.”
“Also, people have developed allergic reactions, such as hives, to formaldehyde through skin contact with solutions on durable-press clothing containing formaldehyde.”
Conventionally Grown GE Cotton Is the ‘World’s Dirtiest Crop
Cotton contains hazardous insecticides. According to the Organic Trade Association:
“Cotton is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. Cotton covers 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop.”
“Aldicarb, parathion, and methamidopho, three of the most acutely hazardous insecticides to human health as determined by the World Health Organization, rank in the top ten most commonly used in cotton production.”
“All but one of the remaining seven most commonly used are classified as moderately to highly hazardous.”
“Aldicarb, cotton’s second best selling insecticide and most acutely poisonous to humans, can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin, yet it is still used in 25 countries and the US, where 16 states have reported it in their groundwater.”
This may affect farmers, byers, and the enviroment. Therefore for everyone’s sake -buy organic cotton.
Top Tips for Safer Clothing:
You can also look for the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label, which is indicative that it has been tested by an independent laboratory and found to be free of harmful levels of more than 100 substances, including:
- Azo dyes
- heavy metals
- allergenic dyes
In conclusion, to be safe wash the clothes you buy- even twice. When you try them on wear clothes underneath ,at least underwear and of course wash your hands.