Everyday we have to put something on our body. Or the hope is, if you are going out of the house, you at least put a shirt on. But, most of us do not know the long-lasting effects this shirt can have on us personally and the world around us. Here are some quick facts to help you know how to make the best decision about choosing what YOU put on your body.
1)What touches your skin, goes into your body.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that as adults we have hundreds of synthetic chemicals in our bloodstream. Many of these chemicals come simply from the exposure of your skin to harmful items that we come in contact with everyday, like the shirt you are wearing right now. For example, if your shirt is made of cotton, it could be directly exposing you to harmful chemicals. Cotton represents nearly half of the total fiber used to make clothing today. More than 90% of that cotton is now genetically modified. Cotton production is now responsible for 18% of worldwide pesticide use and 25% of total insecticide use. As our skin is the largest organ, these chemicals are passed into our bloodstream from innocently wearing a shirt. It is not all terrible thought, there is another option; organic cotton. Organic cotton is on the rise using non-GMO sources grown in the United states. Brands like Allmade are committed to providing a radical shirt, that is good for you too!
2) It took a small pool to make your shirt.
It takes about 500 gallons of water to make one shirt. The vast amount of water used by manufacturers to make one shirt is staggering. Not to mention the fashion industry is the second highest polluter of fresh water. Again, the good news is that choosing organic cotton from environmentally responsible brands is a great way to reduce the negative impact on the environment.
3) Your shirt will never disappear.
That’s right. You are immortal. Well, your shirt is at least. In fact, if you are wearing synthetic polyester, your shirt will actually never naturally decompose. Almost every single piece of polyester that has ever been produced is still on the planet today. And did you know, polyester is a plastic made from fossil fuels, and is in over half of our clothing. So what do we do? Well, recycled polyester is now a thing. What is even cooler is that many companies are making their own recycled polyester out of recycled plastic water bottles. This makes for water conservation, fewer greenhouse gases, and a world a lot more beautiful.
4) The clothes you throw away this year, will accumulate to the weight of a small child
All those clothes we give to thrift stores, and donate to local charities will more than likely never actually sell. That means that the average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year. That adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone that ends up in landfills annually. The clothes that don’t end up in landfills get shipped to developing countries and flood the market with clothes so cheap that local producers can not compete, and eventually go out of business. This creates a cycle of dependency on crappy imported clothing and stifles chances of a growing market in the developing world. Choosing high quality products that last longer is a quick and easy way to prevent your items from contributing to this cycle.
5) What’s on your body has the ability to change the world
It doesn’t all have to be depressing. Your dollar is power. As a consumer you can create massive global change by simply choosing to pass on the fast fashion sales at the mall or local retailer. Next time you run a 5K, have to buy shirts for your little league team, or simply want some new swag, you can now make an informed decision about what impact you will make. You have the authority to influence the world around you. And that is a pretty cool thing.