The Mindful Journal


The Chemicals In Your Clothes

You may be surprised to learn that the clothes that you are wearing could contain potentially harmful chemicals!

Chemicals can sometimes be present in clothing in dangerous levels, and sometimes when this becomes evident the items in question will be recalled. This is something that has been observed in the press recently. Primark has recently recalled thousands of flip-flops due to the presence of a carcinogenic (cancer causing) substance*, and Dr. Martens took their new vegan boots out of stores nationwide when an undisclosed harmful chemical was discovered in trace amounts*.

Addressing the reasons why there are chemicals in our clothes, the harm that these chemicals can pose to our health, and how to avoid this problem, are three questions that we are going to answer today!

Why Are There Chemicals in Our Clothes?

At the very beginning of the production process, the fibres that are grown to later become fabric will more than likely have been sprayed with pesticides. This helps to keep the crops healthy and pest-free, but traces of the chemicals are then present in the fabrics. Furthermore, during the manufacturing process, the fabrics may be sprayed with additional chemicals. This is done in order to make them resistant to problems such as odour and creasing. Chemicals are also used during the dying process, even though many of these dyes are commonly known to be extremely carcinogenic.

Why Are There Chemicals in Our Clothes? PAMA London

Regulations within the clothing industry are not at all strict when it comes to the use of chemicals. In fact, manufacturers are not even required to share information regarding which chemicals have been used on a fabric.

How Are These Chemicals Harmful?

The carcinogenic properties of certain chemicals used on clothes is arguably the biggest cause for concern. Alarmingly, a substance known as formaldehyde can be found all too often in clothing garments. Not only is this chemical carcinogenic but it can also irritate the skin and the respiratory system.

Chrysene, which is the chemical that was found in the Primark flip-flops, is often used in chemical dyes and is known to have the potential to cause cancer. Exposure to chrysene can harm the skin and the eyes, and should be avoided where possible.

Metals are found in countless textiles and this can be dangerous for several reasons. When these metals are present in high concentrations then the garments can actually become radioactive! It is estimated that after approximately 500 hours of wearing such a garment, then the risk of injury becomes serious.

How to Avoid Clothes with Chemicals

The adverse effects of the chemicals often found in clothes can be different for different people. Low levels of these chemicals may present no real danger at all, but frequent over-exposure should certainly be avoided where possible.

When you are shopping for new clothes always opt for those that are made from organic materials. Cotton and wool are fabrics that are increasingly made in an organic way. Additionally, try to avoid synthetic fabrics as the use of chemicals is fairly prevalent. Also, if the garment that you have your eye on is being advertised as crease-free or resistant to odours then it is likely to have undergone some chemical processing.

If you are seriously committed to avoiding chemicals in your clothing then you can always research an individual brands approach to using these chemicals. If a company has nothing to worry about when it comes to the presence of harmful chemicals then they will usually be happy to answer your questions!
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Alternative Sustainable Fabrics


More and more people are waking up to the fact that the production of the clothes that they love is damaging our environment. In order to protect the planet, the future of the clothing industry undoubtedly has to move into the hands of sustainable fabrics!

At PAMA London we are big fans of the incredible potential of bamboo for manufacturing fabrics, and this is evident from its use throughout our collections. Bamboo is an incredibly durable and easily renewable natural resource. Some of the main reasons that it is used for clothing production are that it is antibacterial and makes for a breathable fabric.

How Sustainable?

When considering how sustainable a fabric is, it is important to not only look at how it is grown and cultivated, but also how it is transported and processed. Every part of the journey contributes to how sustainable these fabrics actually are, and how much better for the environment they are when compared to conventional fabrics.

The Best Sustainable Fabrics

In addition to charcoal bamboo, there are some other fantastic resources that can be utilised to produce high quality sustainable clothing.


Lyocell, which is also commonly known as tencel, is a man-made fibre created from wood pulp. The technology used to manufacture lyocell is award-winning innovation, and is considered to be a serious achievement in the world of environmentally friendly textiles.

It is a completely non-toxic process and the eucalyptus trees used for production are always grown using sustainable farming practices. The fabric itself is super absorbent, meaning that if the use of dye is required then less is needed than with other more conventional fabrics.

Post-use, lyocell is biodegradable and therefore won’t leave a mark on the planet once you no longer have use for your garment.


Hemp fabric is made from a part of the cannabis sativa plant, which is a plant that is quick and easy to grow. The rapid growth time means that less water is required and also that the grower has to wait less time for the plant to reach maturity.

When hemp plants are growing, they will not require any additional irrigation than what nature already provides, and the entire process will usually be organic! Similarly to lyocell, hemp is entirely biodegradable.


Linen is a fabric that is made from naturally occurring fibres taken from the flax plant. Production of the flax plant is a fairly simple process and can be grown on land that currently has little agricultural value, such as land that has poor soil. In keeping with the other fabrics mentioned, linen is also biodegradable.

Organic Cotton

Farmers of organic cotton use crop rotation instead of chemicals to ensure that their plants reach their potential. The soil used to grow organic cotton cotton will be deliberately rich with compost in order to enhance growth.

With chemical-free crops, there is always the risk of attracting insects, which can of course be problematic. Organic cotton farmers usually utilise castor-oil traps that insects will stick to, and will also often use natural pesticides.

During the first growth cycle, cotton will require a large amount of water, with the production of 1kg of cotton needing approximately 20,000 litres of water. With organic cotton, the amount of water needed will decrease after the first few years, and the soil will retain many of the nutrients it receives. When we consider that 25% of pesticide use in the world is for conventional cotton production, we can see why its organic counterpart is the only way forward!

In addition to being biodegradable, making it safer for the planet, organic cotton production is (of course!) free from chemicals, meaning the farming environment is safer for workers too.

Avoiding the use of fabrics that are harmful to our planet is a step towards helping to protect it! Check out the range of clothes on offer from PAMA London to begin revolutionising your wardrobe!

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Namaste Journal



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Follow Your Intentions

The first part of namaste comes from "namaha," a Sanskrit verb that originally meant "to bend." Bending is a sign of submission to authority or showing some respect to some superior entity." Over time, "namaha" went from meaning "to bend" to meaning "salutations" or "greetings." The "te" in namaste means "to you," Deshpande says. So all together, namaste literally means "greetings to you." In the Vedas, namaste mostly occurs as a salutation to a divinity.