I, like many of you I am sure, love cute clothing. So when I started watching the Detox movement video by Greenpeace, I was shocked. Well, maybe not that shocked, considering I’m studying sustainability and this sort of thing (unethical pollution) is extremely common, but still. The way that clothes are being made is disgusting. According to the video, the fashion and textile industry is contributing to both surface and groundwater pollution, making that water either undrinkable or contaminated, sometimes with carcinogenic chemicals. Furthermore, clothing bought is usually covered with toxins (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced that awful rash after neglecting to wash a new shirt before wear…) and when we wash these off of our clothes, those chemicals end up back in the water supply near the places we live.
This video not only outraged me on the poor standard set for textile companies regarding waste, it reminded me of something that once happened to a co-worker of mine. I used to work as a sales associate at a clothing store. Me and one other girl were hired at the same time, and a few weeks after settling into our job, my new friend began to realize her hands were drying out and she was getting light rashes on her arms. We began to wonder if the formaldehyde covered clothes (to keep them from wrinkling, of course, because that is super important) were the cause. Alarmed, she took a week off, and her hands cleared up almost immediately. So she quit. Did I mention that this store specializes in children and babies’ clothing?
To me, this seems wrong. Why does the textile industry pollute so much? And why does it need to continue? I am extremely happy that movements like Detox are out there to both educate us and help us to push for what we really want. Is it true that consumers want cheap clothing at the cost of other people’s fresh water and health? I, personally, don’t think so. Thank you, Greenpeace, for the enlightenment.
If you want to see which companies are responding, and who is not, follow this link : http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/water/detox/
You’ll also find the video there.