Thursday, 21 April 2011

Be Ethical - Why Wash Your Jeans?

I’ve read about many of the chemicals in laundry detergents and fabric softeners and am concerned about their health implications, as many contain formaldehyde, artificial fragrances and other toxins that can cause illnesses from central nervous system disorders to dermatitis.  It’s also widely accepted that between 50%, to 70% of life cycle carbon emissions of cleaning products occur during the use phase, for example when using a washing machine, and the major contributors to carbon emissions are often related to energy consumption.   

Then I saw an article about a student at the University of Alberta who wore the same pair of skin-tight jeans for 15 months without washing them (that’s over 200 wears) before having his jeans tested by his textile professor to see what bacteria could be discovered, I began to wonder do we really need to wash our clothes so often?  The experiment ended up serving a rather interesting, purpose, as surprisingly, the jeans were remarkably clean.
Josh Le of the University of Alberta was not trying to reduce his carbon footprint; his excuse for not doing his laundry was that he wanted to break in the raw denim so the fabric would hug the contours of his body, leaving distinct wear lines and creases.
At the conclusion of the experiment Le washed his jeans in a washing machine, after which he wore the jeans another two weeks and then re-tested them. The results surprised Le and Human Ecology professor Rachel McQueen who said what was most surprising was that the jeans after they were re-washed and re-tested were very similar.
McQueen said the highest recordings of bacteria were found in the crotch of the jeans where between 8,500 and 10,000 bacterial units per square centimetre were found, with lower readings in the back and front of the jeans.  In all, there were five kinds of skin bacteria in the jeans, and there were no traces of dangerous E. coli. McQueen said of the bacteria count of the freshly washed pair, compared to the prewashing levels. “I expected they would still be much lower than after 15 months.”
Controlling odour was a different concern, Le said, admitting the jeans began to smell after a few months. Josh decided to put his smelly jeans in the freezer for a few hours after which they became odourless. “I triple-bagged them and put them in the freezer,” he said.
So, maybe we don’t need to wash our clothes so often after all!!!!
Read more by clicking on the link below:
Photo: John Ulan/Canadian Press

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Katharine Hamnett, Helvetas and the Environmental Justice Foundation team up to launch NO MORE FASHION VICTIMS

Katherine Hamnett

Katharine Hamnett is an iconic British Fashion Designer, who first launched slogan T-shirts in 1983 and has been involved in campaigns since 1989 to clean up the fashion industry, with initiatives such as the “Clean Up or Die” Collection which aimed to change industry from within.  Since 1990, Hamnett has also campaigned to promote organic cotton, and after giving a speech on the dangers of conventional cotton cultivation in New York, she became involved in the launch of Environmental Cotton 2000, in association with the Pesticide Action Network, which is a research and education programme concerned with pesticides used in cotton growing.

Appalled by the fact that conventional cotton farming kills twenty thousand people per year due to accidental pesticide poisoning and millions of people a year suffer long-term acute pesticide poisoning in cotton agriculture (Pesticide Action Network), Katharine took the decision to highlight these issues and tackle these problems. Organic cotton, grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers, and processed minus toxic dyes or other treatments, avoids many of the environmental, health and social problems associated with conventional cotton production. Organic cotton farmers can also grow food safely on their land, which they can then use to feed themselves and their families or sell to increase their income, thus providing food security. Organic farmers also report substantially higher incomes, allowing them to educate their children and gain access to health care.

She has continued to work on ethical and environmental manufacturing and on consumer awareness of the issues, producing a new line KATHARINE E HAMNETT, E for being manufactured Ethically and as Environmentally as physically possible, which is sold from her international on-line store. Katharine Hamnett has recently been honoured with a CBE by Her Majesty the Queen for services to fashion, she has also been voted as the ‘No.1 Ethical Hero’ by New Consumer magazine and regarded in the industry as “The Queen of Green” (Vogue UK).

The T-Shirts are £40 and you can buy yours from the Environmental Justice Foundation at:  

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Reasons to Make Chemicals Kid-Safe

I've just found an interesting article written by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research organization based in Washington, D.C. that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.

The EWG have produced a study that found 252 chemicals linked to cancer in 160 people tested (EWG 2008). Environmental Protection Agency studies show that infants up to age 2 are, on average, 10 times more vulnerable to carcinogens than adults (EWG 2003).