Organic Clothing Coalition
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Fabric Truths: Synthetic Fibers Are Not Safe
Synthetic fabrics are very harmful throughout every step of creation and discard; they simply never completely go away. Synthetic fibers are created in a laboratory. They are manmade and unnatural. The fabrics are created using a lethal cocktail of toxic chemicals that do not occur naturally in nature. 

Synthetic fabric prevents our bodies from naturally sweating releasing toxins through our skin. This natural process gives our bodies the ability to maintain a healthy immune system and fight disease. The mass production of acrylic, polyester, rayon, nylon, acetate, vinyl and polyurethane is endangering our health and the planet at an alarming rate. 




Acrylic fabrics are polycrylonitries (PAN) synthetic polymers and have been proven to cause cancer in laboratory studies. It's classified as plastic. Plastic bottles and bags are broken down to a yarn state and woven into fabric. 


Acetate and tri-acetate is made from wood pulp and is called cellulous fiber. Thousands of toxic chemicals are required to process the solution(slur) into strands that can be woven into fabric. These chemicals contaminate our planet in many disturbing and unethical ways. It has been discovered that these chemicals alter hormones affecting fertility making it impossible to conceive and have children. It's been reported that 7.3 million American couples are not able to conceive and have children, chemicals in the environment have been implicated. 


Nylon is made from coal, petroleum, air, water, agricultural by-products and natural gas. Research has linked the fabric to breast cancer along with many other chronic illnesses. 


Polyester is made from synthetic polymers derived from esters of dihydric alcohol and terepthalic acid. In plain English polyester is made up of four ingredients: coal, petroleum, air and water. Polynosic fabric is another name for polyester.


Rayon is made from recycled wood pulp that has been treated with chemicals such as caustic soda, ammonia, carbon disulphide, acetone and sulphuric acid. The fabric has been researched and proven to cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, insomnia, chest and muscle pain and even Parkinson’s disease. 









Other manmade fabrics to avoid include modal, tencel, loycell, viscose and some types of bamboo. It’s true many of these fibers can be considered natural, they are made from wood and grass. However, the process used to produce these fabrics is highly toxic and chemically saturated. Don’t be fooled by corporations touting through the use of clever ad campaigns that these fibers are the fabrics of the future. As consumers we should investigate the facts behind the claims to know what we are buying. As an example, polynosic a new term now found in many garment labels- is simply a fancy name for polyester.

Visit the CATA Website to learn more>>

Modal-Viscose-Loycell-Tencel Explained

Modal is a type of rayon made from reconstituted cellulose slur formed through spinnerets. It is very light weight, almost see through, shrink and fade resistant. Modal easily loses it's shape, causes severe itching and burning rashes.

Viscose is made by rotting beech tree wood chips in a bath of caustic acid. Once the rotten has occurred the solution is treated again with caustic acid and carbon disulphide. The fabric can cause nausea, rashes, itching and burning.


Loycell is made using n-methylmorpholine n-oxide, a chemical that dissolves eucalyptus and beech tree wood chips into a slur. The slur is run through spinnerets to form yarn that is woven into fabric. The process uses nano-technology.


Tencel is the registered trade name for loycell. It's made from eucalyptus trees grown mostly in South Africa. It has the same properties as loycell and is nano-technology.