Chemicals in School Uniforms

School uniforms

They are worn 5 days a week for approximately 200 days a year, for 13 years. That’s a considerable amount of time. Parents buy them new over and over again as our children grow. Each time they are unfortunately exposed to a plethora of chemicals often bound or woven into the fabric.

School uniforms are mostly made out of polyester, nylon, dracon, wool, viscose, elastin and cotton. Most of these synthetic materials do not breathe and shed tiny microplastics into waterways.

But did you know our children’s school uniforms are also being made with so many additional chemicals you may not be aware of and they are labelled like this:
🔺UV resistant
🔺Stain resistant
🔺Shrink free
🔺Easy care
🔺Easy wash
🔺Anti bacterial
🔺Anti odour
🔺Cling free
🔺Sweat wicking

Toxic and harmful substances are added at numerous stages of production from growing, processing, dyeing, finishing, handling with pesticides, fertilisers, silicone waxes, harsh petroleum, scours, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, fasteners, ammonia, colourants, finishers, caustic soda, sulphuric acid, bromides, urea resins, halogens and formaldehyde.

Washing, soaking, sunshine and fresh air can be the best defenses against reducing these toxins in our children’s uniforms. Second hand is a great option, as it means most of the clothing has already off gassed as it has been washed multiple times reducing the chemicals in/on the materials.

Reducing dermal exposure is another option such as using organic undergarments like organic singlets and organic underwear.

It’s such a shame school uniforms are mass produced cheaply and blended with these synthetic fibers which are just not good for our children’s skin or the environment. Our children are wrapped in plastic. Typically, these materials are woven or made of plastic. These products do not break down, they shed micro plastics, the plastic buttons never degrade, and they basically never leave this earth unless they are repurposed or recycled.

I would love to see organic cotton polos made available and they are available, but most uniform shops do not offer them as an option. You can ask to have your school’s logo printed on them; most uniform shops will happily do this for a fee. Why not replace buttons with little wooden buttons that biodegrade, and wouldn’t it be amazing if schools offered or redirected parents to a clothing recycling facility once they are finished with the uniforms?

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