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Your Outfit May Slay, But Your Clothes Might Be Literally Killing You
Experts say that certain kinds of clothing pose unique health risks not often considered when making sartorial decisions.
A fierce outfit may slay the runway, but your sartorial decisions might be killing you. A report from Readers Digest explores the hidden dangers behind your favorite fashions.
Readers Digest consulted with Gabriella Farkas, MD and a handful of other experts to discuss the various chemicals that may be impacting your health.
"These textiles are made with potentially toxic fibers, particularly those designed with fashion or convenience in mind," says Farkas, warning of man-made cloths like polyester, nylon, rayon, "wrinkle-free" materials, and acrylic which are often coated in dangerous chemicals. "Beware of stain resistant, insect-repelling, flame-retardant, water-repellent, waterproof, perspiration-proof, anti-static, anti-cling, and anti-shrink fabrics."
Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, also warned against the synthetic products.
"Those chemicals may separate from the clothes, set up shop on your skin, and eventually enter your bloodstream."
But it's not just chemicals; accessories ranging from high heels to compression garments to skinny jeans all pose unique threats like shortened calves, damaged nerves, and crushed organs. Even thongs can cause UTIs and yeast infections if not cleaned carefully.
But clothing designed for comfort have also proven to be somewhat perilous, the experts added.
"[In flip-flops] you have to clench the muscles in your feet the entire time you're wearing them so they don't fall off ... The 'grip' to keep footwear on makes some toe bones curl up and some down," said Katy Bowman, a biomechanist and author of "Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief." "It drives the end of some bones into the ground, creating higher-than-normal pressure which can lead to toe injury over time."
Laundry detergents are generally seen as safe but may also be more dangerous than assumed, say experts.
"Dyes and fragrances in detergent and laundry soaps contain chemicals that clean, deodorize, and disinfect," explains Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. "For people with eczema or extremely sensitive skin, even the slightest contact can trigger a reaction."
Think you're safe buying second hand? Vintage clothing also poses risks.
"Bacteria, parasites, and fungi from a variety of diseases can survive on clothing for extended periods of time," says Dr. Farkas, who also noted that bed bugs may survive on recycled fashions. She recommends putting your thrifted fashions in the dryer for 45 minutes before tossing them into the washer.
You may be getting life from your wardrobe, but it could cause your death.
[Photo: Getty Images]