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HML TEXTILE GUIDES

Textiles & Health

The clothing we wear and the sheets we sleep on could be making us sick. Toxic chemicals are used to make these everyday products and they have drastic impacts on the environment and on human health. In fact, 43 million tons of chemicals used in a given year of textile production are harmful to our bodies.1

1 The Dirty Truth behind Our Clothes - Green America’s New Toxic Textile Report. Green America, 2019.

DESIGN STRATEGIES

Prioritize Organic Fibers:

Synthetic fabrics require the addition of chemicals. Organically grown textiles such as wool, hemp, linen and jute do not. Organic fibers also have properties that support the health of people and the planet.

Seek Healthier Treatments:

Commonly used dyes, finishes, coatings, and textile treatments can contain chemicals of concern that are carcinogens or endocrine disruptors. By identifying these chemicals, we can divert our exposure, and seek healthier alternatives.

Ingredient Transparency:

Consumers can consider health effects when purchasing products by looking for textile manufacturers with transparency practices such as disclosure ingredient labeling or specialized garment care. If the chemical content is not disclosed, the textile should not be used.

"If we are going to live so intimately with chemicals, eating and drinking them, we had better know something about their nature and their power" - Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Key Product Considerations:

  • Agricultural Practices: Were toxic chemicals used in the production or processing of fibers?
  • Ingredient Transparency: Are any of the ingredients of the textile disclosed known to be toxic to health?
  • Treatment & Additives: Have toxic chemicals been used in dyes, treatments, or finishes?

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

Following are a few selected products that exemplify healthier practices.

Also In This Series: CLIMATE, WATER, CIRCULARITY, WASTE, SOCIAL EQUITY

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