The Toxic 6
Formaldehyde is most commonly known as a preservative (anyone else getting flashbacks to high school biology class?). In manufacturing, formaldehyde is used to prevent wrinkles and shrinkage during washing, but it’s also the most frequently reported allergen. It’s a known skin irritant and carcinogen, and with high levels of exposure, it can be hazardous to your health.
Flame retardants (aka “SCCPs” or Short-Chaim Chlorinated Paraffins) are used to reduce flammability and inhibit the spread of fire. In manufacturing, flame retardants are used to protect the wearer from catching fire, but they’re also carcinogenic and tend to accumulate in fat tissue (like breasts). They’re included in the EU’s list of Substances of Very High Concern, and since 2004, their use has been restricted in certain applications.
Glyphosate is a herbicide used to kill weeds and it’s often found in cotton (FYI, cotton fibers make up about 60% of all women’s clothing). In 2019, researchers from the University of Washington evaluated existing studies into the chemical and concluded that glyphosate significantly increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a cancer of the immune system. Glyphosate has also been linked to reproductive issues and autism.
Most of us have used bleach at some point or another to whiten or remove stains from our clothes. On the bottle, you’ll notice warning labels like “skin and eye irritant” and “only use in ventilated areas,” because it has been linked to asthma, respiratory problems, and burns. In manufacturing, bleach is commonly used in natural fiber processing, like cotton and denim, and when exposed to skin, can cause irritation and rashes.
No, we’re not talking about Metallica. Heavy metals like lead, chromium, cadmium, and antimony are used in manufacturing for a variety of purposes, from dyeing leather to making synthetic textiles. Aside from causing environmental damage, heavy metals can also be highly toxic and have been linked to reproductive issues. They’ve also been shown to cause damage to blood cells, and may be harmful to your kidneys and liver.
If lead-based paint has been banned, why is it still allowed in your clothing? Lead is used in a variety of consumer products, including fabrics used to make clothing, bedding and other products that come into direct contact with your first layer of skin. Pay attention to labels because this metal can be listed under a variety of names. To find the list of banned chemicals visit Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976.
The dirty secrets the intimates industry doesn’t want you to know
There are over 1,000 compounds that have been declared illegal for use in products in Europe, Canada, South Korea, as well as many other countries, but only 40 of these substances have been banned in the US.
Furthermore, there is no law in the US that regulates or requires the listing of materials outside of fabrics involved in the production of our clothing.
Many companies have tried to put a band-aid on this issue, for example using organic cotton, but just because it’s organic cotton doesn’t mean it’s not processed or treated with the same chemicals.
And that’s not even considering the environmental factors of producing intimates. Foam factories who produce many of the intimates industry products are some of the largest polluters on the planet. You can see why we and thousands of women just like you have expressed their frustrations, and demand better from the companies that make what we wear & put on our bodies.
After seven years and 80 prototypes, we blazed a new path forward in the intimates industry by creating a responsible, sustainable company that gave women’s bodies what they deserve; a “clean” bra with wireless support and comfort for all day wear.
We’ll never put anything in our products that aren’t best for a woman's body.
While traditional intimates contain many of the chemicals on our Toxic 6 List, everything Vibrant makes has been certified by OEKO-TEX®, an independent non-profit Swiss agency.
To attain OEKO-TEX Standard 100® certification, all components of a garment must be tested and found to be free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health.