Hidden Chemicals in your Clothes | PFAS in Textiles

Video link: https://youtu.be/4qYigRK8Rj0

Hi! I am about to rage about one of my special interests for over 20 minutes straight. Don’t worry though, I brought the receipts. 🙂

Yes, this history is exceptionally simplified for the sake of brevity and storytelling. No, it was not really as simple as one halogen, then the next and then the next (they were pretty much all experimented with concurrently). But that doesn’t change the fact that the industry executives responsible knew of the health issues involved and chose to do nothing in the name of profit. They are still only doing their best to do less than the bare minimum.

I do try to avoid PFAS, Teflon, and many other environmental pollutants when I can, but as you can see from our own household examples, we all make mistakes, and I am still going to say yes to clothing I can use from people who can no longer use them themselves. Make each item last as long as possible and all that.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

The movie Dark Waters.

My published articles.

Abbreviations used in this video:

  • DDT – Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. One of the original 12 “dirty dozen” of persistent organic pollutants was originally targeted by the Stockholm convention for its adverse effects on wildlife. Originally used as a pesticide, now only allowed sparingly as a malaria repellent
  • PFAS/PFASs – Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Man-made chemical structures with one or more fluor elements bound to a carbon “skeletal” structure. Considered “forever chemicals”, very resilient to breaking down, harmful to humans and wildlife, and accumulates in fat tissues. Found all over the world at this point.
  • PFCs – Polyfluorinated compounds, more used in older articles and some colloquial news articles. See PFAS.
  • PFOA – Perfluorooctanoic acid (one of the most common PFAS substances). Base structure for making Teflon, among other things. Extremely persistent in nature.
  • PFOS – Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (another very, very common PFAS). Used in stain repellents, fabric protectors, and fire-fighting foams, among other things. Other PFAS might break down into PFOS, which is highly persistent in nature.
  • POPs – Persistent organic pollutants. Large group of chemicals that encompasses several PFASs. To be acknowledged as a POP, a substance must persist in nature over several years, cause adverse health effects, or have the potential to cause adverse health effects, get distributed globally through natural processes, and accumulate in the food web


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