Nowadays, many things around us are made from a material called polyester. But did you know that some people are worried that polyester might be harmful to our health? This is because some polyester products can release dangerous chemicals into the air or on our skin. Especially when we use things like polyester bed sheets or clothes. So, the big question is: Is Polyester Toxic?
Polyester is a non-biodegradable element that needs more than 200 years to decompose. Despite knowing this fact, 60% of our garments are still composed of polyester, for which 57 million tons of polyester for garments are used each year. Let’s discuss in-depth, is polyester toxic or not.
Is Polyester Toxic?
This synthetic fiber is made from ethylene and is one of the most significant pollution contributors around the world. All polyesters are toxic because elements used in their production are non-renewable. And most importantly, during the reaction, a tremendous amount of carbon footprints are released, causing global warming.
Almost all apparel industrialists believe that polyester is human-friendly, but they use polyethylene terephthalate. It contains Antimony which is mainly a carcinogen that can cause severe health issues to humans.
Is Recycled Polyester Toxic?
Recycled plastic is considered more sustainable and safe for human health than the original. Recycling polyester requires a massive amount of energy and chemicals for color consistency. It won’t affect the environment significantly, but dyeing polyester is toxic as it releases chemicals that still impact our surroundings.
Recycled polyester is still plastic containing toxic microfiber elements that are 5mm in length, and each cycle of washing them can shed over 70 thousand microplastics with water. According to recent research, more than 34% of global microplastic pollution is because of these tiny plastic pieces that are continuously destroying aquatic life.
Recycled plastic also contains Bisphenol A (BPA), which is hazardous for humans in its own way. If human skin gets in touch with them, it will be absorbed into our body and disrupt its functioning.
All above this, polyester can be recycled almost 2-3 times, after which it cannot be recycled as it loses all of its quality. This unusable plastic is either dumped into oceans or on open grounds that will continuously release toxins for centuries.
Polyester Impact On Environment
Since 1970, polyester has revolutionized the clothing industry, making it the world’s most popular and used fabric. Most people are unaware of the harmful effects of polyester on the environment. Let’s get deeper and talk about the toxic impacts of polyester that you must know to avoid.
Overproduction of Clothes
Years ago, the textile industries depended on cotton and linen and were limited according to cotton production annually. But after the invention of polyester from the 1970s to now, polyester has held control over all the textile industries.
Clothing production has been doubled, increasing the number of toxins in the atmosphere. Even non-biodegradable waste has been increased, which is alarming for us and can destroy the habitat.
Polyester is produced by a chemical reaction between alcohol, an acid, and chemicals derived from fossil fuels, water, and coal. Fossil fuels are the most significant contributor to increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere. Seventy million barrels of oil are used each year to produce polyester. Not only CO2 but toxins are also released during the manufacturing process, risking the health of all the organisms.
Release Toxic Fibers
On every wash of each apparel, thousands of toxic microfibers in waterways flow to oceans. According to a study by Plymouth University, when we wash clothes, approximately 4,000 microfibers are released per gram of fibers. Even just wearing polyester clothes can shed 400 microfibers around you. Only these microfibers from polyesters cause 31% of plastic pollution on earth.
Can’t be Recycled
Polyester is a non-renewable and non-biodegradable source that can’t be recycled fully with our present technology. Only one company in Japan is trying to convert their polyester into fresh polyester, while the rest of the world’s companies are still producing it even knowing that it can’t be recycled.
Even if it starts decomposing after 100 years, it will release methane, a gas that is more potent and harmful than carbon dioxide.
Polyester Smells Bad
Polyester clothes are smelly as they provide the ideal habitat for some bacteria. Most people think that it’s because of their sweat, but human sweat is odorless. It’s the bacteria on our body that breaks the fatty acid chain in the sweat, causing a foul smell from our body.
The biggest bacterial culprit found in our clothes is micrococci, which loves polyester. These bacteria remain in polyester clothes even after washing.
Effects Of Polyester On Health
As we discussed, polyester is thermoplastic, releasing plastics on each wash, and it must not be in your house, especially in your bedding. The most important aspect of life is health, and polyester is harmful to humans. Let’s talk about its effect on human health.
Toxic chemicals in polyester won’t allow your skin to breathe and increase the sweating that stimulates oil production and heat that causes acne and other skin irritations. Itching, rashes, and redness are normal with polyester clothes. Polyester is bad for skin, so avoid it if you have sensitive skin.
Polyester clothes shed plastics on each wear, and according to research, there is around 29% of plastic in the air. The ratio of plastic fiber present indoors is larger than the outdoor. This means we breathe around the plastic, which gets into the lung’s tissue resulting in severe respiratory issues.
Immune System of Kids
Children’s bodies are already sensitive and need more care than an adult’s, so doctors always recommend Cotton Fabrics. Polyester is bad for babies as these synthetic fibers with lots of chemicals affect their immune system and cause many other health problems.
Q1. Are polyester sheets better for sleep?
Polyester sheets are durable and comfy, but still, they are not breathable, due to which you can’t use them during summer.
Q2.Is it safe to burn polyester?
Burning polyester will release black smoke and toxic fumes. Burning polyester forms a glob, and if this glob sticks to your skin, it will continue burning, causing skin injuries.
Polyester is toxic in all aspects; if you want to protect your body as well as this planet, then keep its consequences in your mind. Sometimes people find it the best for high-quality clothes, but it’s still hazardous. So, try to avoid it as much as possible and stay safe.