Cowgar Family Adventures

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Synthetic Battle...with Clothing

It's winter, it's cold, so we all want to stay warm, so we dress warm. Thermal underwear (long johns) are a must have Ohio accessory in the winter. Nana bought a pair for both Lexi and Lilly (Joe Boxer brand) for Christmas. They are tight fitting, since they are meant as a layer under your clothing. The girls used them for PJ's a few nights ago, and stayed in them all day running around the house. They took a bath that evening, and upon getting out, were covered in a red spotted rash. Lilly more than Lexi, but Lexi had taken off her pants part of the day, and Lilly's pair fit a lot tighter since she is bigger (and she is more active). They hadn't eaten anything out of the ordinary, so I took a look at the tag on the long johns. 40% Polyester... So I google polyester allergy. According to that research, it looks like both girls had a slight reaction to it. Then it clicked. Luke has red bumps on his legs that get irritated in the winter and after getting out of a warm bath. We figured it was the drier air. He lives in his long johns during the winter, and of course his are 23% polyester, and 54% acrylic!! He is having a reaction too, and we never realized it.

This is how it works. Polyester, acrylic, nylon...all of those synthetic fibers, are plastic. They are used a lot in winter clothing since it acts as a barrier to keep heat in. Well it also keeps moisture in (aka sweat), and that helps irritate the skin. I also came across a little research that suggests that these plastic fibers emit small doses of estrogen through some chemical process, which can lead to increased chances of developing certain cancers...etc.

Since I am a semi-crunchy hippie as it is, I've decided to pay a lot more attention to the clothing we wear. Most of what we have is 100% cotton, but I've come across some things, like sweatpants and sweatshirts, and basically more winter type clothing (including coats) that contain most of the synthetics.

I am going to start with the girls' shirts, and get rid of everything that has more than 10% synthetic in it. (This will help with my de-clutter project as well) I may keep a few nicer sweaters for special occasions, and they can wear an undershirt made of cotton, and they won't be in it long. They have so many shirts, and I won't need that many when Avery is that big, since there will be just one of her in that size, instead of 2 like I have now. They have sweatpants and winter PJ's that contain polyester, but they fit a lot more loosely than those long johns did, so they are OK for now.

In the future though, when I buy clothing for the family, I will be checking out tags. I am also going to let family and friends know, that if they would like to purchase clothing for the girls for birthdays or Christmas, to please check the tags, because I just don't want to take the chance that they may not be able to wear it. Besides...staying away from synthetic is better health wise, and for the environment.

Thankfully, it was a very small/mild reaction, and it seems to be clearing up just fine. No swelling, no complaining of itching, no seeping sores...just a red bumpy rash, mainly around the thighs and waist, where the clothing would be tightest on them.

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing. I wonder what's in my son's clothes...