How safe is your family from the toxins found in the synthetic yarns you’ve purchased to create beautiful things? How safe is it to have all that yarn stashed away in a corner of your home building toxins in your air? I haven’t. As a matter of fact, if I like the way a yarn feels when I’m working with it, I give very little thought to what’s in it. Well, I’m now beginning to think it would be a good idea to consider my environment and what part my yarn plays in its toxicity.
All yarn artists have a stash. In that stash are many yarns. However, in that stash are also toxins that were used to manufacture the yarn. Wondering “how safe is my yarn” should lead you to check the synthetic fibers first. the reason I start with synthetic fibers is they are fully manufactured fibers. The danger with them is they are manufactured using toxins that cannot be washed out, making them a potential health hazard. Now before you panic about your yarn stash, keep in mind many of our clothes are made of synthetic fibers and teaming with toxins.
“Chemicals are applied to yarns and other materials because man-made fabrics are complex, and getting soft yarn out of raw materials takes chemical manipulation. For example:
- Chemicals are used to make yarns suitable for spinning and weaving.
- Petrochemical polluting dyes are used for color.
- A formaldehyde product is applied with heat to prevent shrinkage so it is trapped in the fiber permanently.
- Chemicals are added to make yarns softer, wrinkle-free, fire-retardant, moth-repellant and stain-resistant.
- Commonly used chemicals include volatile organic compounds(VOCs) and dioxin-producing bleach.
- Nylon and polyester are made from petrochemicals, whose production creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that’s 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Rayon is made from wood pulp that has been treated with chemicals, including caustic soda and sulphuric acid.
- Dye fixatives used in yarns often come from heavy metals and pollute water systems.
- Acrylic yarns are polycrylonitriles, which may be carcinogenic.
- Yarn treated with flame-retadant chemicals emit formaldehyde gas.