There are many good reasons to choose eco-friendly clothing over polyester clothing. Polyester clothing is produced using oil which is an obviously unsustainable resource. It also takes a large amount of energy to produce polyester and given that it is not bio-degradeable, it fills up our land fills.
But new research is also suggesting that polyester may not be good for our health. Due to its synthetic structure, polyester clothing produces very strong electrostatic potential. Recently, researchers have begun exploring the impact of electrostatic potential on our health. This research is both enlightening and frightening.
One study, reference Shafik A, 2007, explored the effect of different types of textiles on pregnancy in 35 pregnant dogs divided equally into one control and four experimental groups. During pregnancy, the test groups were dressed in a garment made of either pure polyester, cotton or wool, or of a 50/50 polyester-cotton mix. Serum estradiol 17B and progesterone were measured before and every 15 days during pregnancy. Electrostatic potential was assessed on the skin before and after wearing the garment.
The dogs wearing cotton, wool and polyester-cotton mix as well as five of the seven wearing pure polyester garments had normal serum estradiol and progesterone during pregnancy and produced normal offspring. The remaining two animals of the group wearing pure polyester showed low serum progesterone levels in the first month of pregnancy and had spontaneous abortions. Mating was attempted in these two dogs during the subsequent estrous cycle without making them wear polyester garments. Serum levels of reproductive hormones were normal and they produced normal offspring. Electrostatic potential was detected on the skin of only the polyester dressed groups, and was higher in the pure than in the mixed polyester groups.
Given the low numbers involved in this study, conclusions could not be drawn. However, given the fact that low serum progesterone and abortion was observed only in the pure polyester group is a cause for concern. Abortion seemed to be due to the low serum progesterone which may have resulted from the injurious effect of EP on the ovarian or placental function.
Although this study was not statistically conclusive, past research, reference Shafik, 1999, conducted on human males was very clear. In the 1999 experiment, the impact of polyester on spermatogenesis was investigated. In that study, 11 male subjects wore polyester underwear. All subjects wearing the polyester underwear developed a significant electrostatic charge across the scrotum. Of the 11 subjects, 4 individuals developed a significant reduction in sperm count as well as testicular degeneration after 14 months. In a control group wearing cotton underwear, no changes in sperm count was observed.
Removal of the polyester underwear produced a complete reversal in affected subjects back to normal sperm count and elimination of the electrostatic potential.
The study went further to explore the possibility of using polyester as a male contraceptive. The contraceptive effect of a polyester sling applied to the scrotum was studied in 14 men who wore a polyester suspensor for 12 months.
The sling consisted of polyester fabric and was fashioned for the scrotum to lie within it.
The suspensor was used day and night and was changed when soiled. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details but the end result is that ALL subjects became azoospermic, zero sperm counts, after approximately 140 days. The good news is that the process was reversible.
It seems clear to this author that polyester has a real and negative impact on the human body seemingly due to the significant electrostatic potential produced by the fabric.
If you are trying to have kids and are a man I would strongly suggest clearing all the polyester underwear out of your drawers! If you are a woman, I would suggest not taking any chances and avoid wearing polyester clothing, at least while pregnant. And while you are at it, stock up your wardrobe with some eco-friendly clothing items. Not only will the planet appreciate it, but maybe your health too!