Wearing popular workout clothes is a seemingly harmless choice, but what is often over-looked is that by purchasing mainstream fitness brands we could be putting our health at risk and contributing to practices that are so detrimental to the environment.
First of all, fitness apparel is generally made from synthetic, chemical concoctions and this is concerning because our skin absorbs whatever we put against it.
Fitness garment manufacturers often finish their clothing with antimicrobials to eliminate sweaty odor. These antimicrobials may consist of nanoparticles, which are tiny little microscopic pieces of silver intended to kill off bacteria. They are so small that they can be inhaled and absorbed into the skin, which is concerning because we don’t have enough evidence of the effects of nanoparticles yet. What is known however, is that when types of fish are exposed to nanoparticles during testing, they either die or develop mutations in their bodies, eyes and heart.
The reason manufacturers put antimicrobial finishes in their clothing is because odor-causing bacteria remains and thrives on the fibers of synthetic clothing, but not on those of cotton. So, synthetic fitness clothing will become smellier than cotton apparel.
Another antimicrobial that may be added to fabrics is triclosan, a chemical that research shows negatively affects hormone regulation, interferes with fetal development and is possibly linked with cancer.
Why ORGANIC Cotton, though?
The cotton industry uses a heavy amount of herbicides and pesticides, making cotton one of the world’s “dirtiest crops”. These pesticides are acutely poisonous to human health, and pose a serious risk for farmers in third world countries working with them and also the environment surrounding the farms. And of course, there is suspicion that these poisonous chemicals still lurk in the fibers after we buy them, and even after we wash them, posing a risk to consumers as well.
Here are some further reading suggestions, which were also referred to for this article;
I’ve been gradually trying to switch over my workout gear, and so far I have experimented with an organic clothing brand, PACT apparel. I’ve been happy with their underwear, I have one workout tank top by them and recently I just purchased a pair of organic cotton leggings.
If you have a suggestion for organic fitness apparel, please let us know and share in the comments below :).