Good Reasons why Polyester shouldn’t be in your bed
By The House of Pillows Editorial Writers
At The House of Pillows, we really care about what goes in your bed. We know about materials, and we know which are best for you… and which are by far the worst for you. Today, we’re going to talk about good reasons why Polyester shouldn’t be in your bed.
What is polyester?
Polyester is the most popular of all synthetic materials. Indeed, polyester is a type of plastic. It’s man-made, cheap to produce, and 0% natural.
Because polyester has a very synthetic feel, it is often blended with natural fibers. Natural fibers have the breathe and feel good next to the skin. And so this dilutes the “synthetic” feel of polyester. Most bedding sold around the world is cotton-polyester blends.
How is polyester produced?
So, making polyester involves a chemical reaction. This chemical reactions involves coal, petroleum, air and water. It generally takes place at high temperature in a vacuum.
Polyester is made up of purified terephthalic acid (PTS) or its dimethyl ester dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and monotheluene glycol (MEG).
A petroleum by-product, alcohol, and carboxyl acid are mixed to form a compound known as monomer or “ester.” This reaction is known as polymerization. The polymer material created during polymerization is extruded while hot into long fibers that are stretched until they are about five times their original length. The resultant fiber forms an arrangement of molecules that is very strong.
Is polyester toxic?
So, the straight forward answer is: yes.
Polyester is a synthetic material which has many toxic chemicals embedded in it.
Synthetic materials such as acrylic, nylon, and polyester are made from chemicals such as thermoplastic, which outgas plastic molecules whenever they are heated.
How does this affect your life?
Well, in many ways.
When you dry synthetic clothes in a clothes dryer, you are outgassing these chemicals into your home and the environment.
Also, if you wear synthetic clothes, your body heat also releases these chemicals into the air and the chemicals are absorbed by your skin.
When you wear wrinkle free clothes you’re breathing in plastic and formaldehyde.
Perfluorochemicals (PFCs), including the nonstick additive Teflon is often added. This is for durability, stain resistance and wrinkle resistance. Indeed, many appreciate no-iron or wrinkle free clothes. But, most are unaware of the hazardous chemicals used to create that effect.
Also, PFCs are very persistent in the environment. They have been found in the blood of animals and human beings all over the world.
Researchers have serious health concerns regarding PFCs, including the risk of cancer. Indeed, like many other toxins in the home, PFCs accumulate in your body over time. PFCs can cause liver and kidney damage in laboratory animals, as well as reproductive issues.
Cotton polyester blends are often treated with formaldehyde. And also, softened with chemicals such as ammonia.
Also, Formaldehyde is often added to clothing to prevent material from shrinking. And since it’s applied with heat during processing it is forever attached to the fibers. So there’s no washing it out. Formaldehyde may serve as an irritant to onset asthma and asthma symptoms. And, according to EU classification, formaldehyde is a class 3 carcinogen.
Producers treat flame resistant fabric with flame retardant. This emits formaldehyde gas.
Most polyester is also manufactured with antimony. Antimony a carcinogen that is toxic to the heart, lungs, liver, and skin.
Also, Rayon is made from wood pulp hat is treated with caustic soda and sulphuric acid.
Many textile dyes and bleaches contain toxic heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium.
So, is Polyester toxic?
It’s one of the most toxic materials that most people have against their skin on a daily basis.
Here are some actually good reasons why polyester shouldn’t be in your bed
So, Polyester is pretty bad news.
Manufacturers try to promote the benefits of Polyester. But, there are many health risks associated to Polyester which are unacceptable.
Indeed, Polyester should be avoided as much as possible. Whether it be in your clothes or in your bed, natural and organic materials are always the safest option.
“Polyester is the terminal product in a chain of very reactive and toxic precursors.
Most are carcinogens; all are poisonous.
And even if none of these chemicals remain entrapped in the final polyester structure (which they most likely do), the manufacturing process requires workers and our environment to be exposed to some or all of the chemicals shown in the flowchart above (to see this flowchart and learn more about polyester, go here). There is no doubt that the manufacture of polyester is an environmental and public health burden that we would be better off without.”
Marc Pehkonen and Lori Taylor, diaperpin.com
Polyester carries carcinogens
One of the reasons polyester shouldn’t be in your bed, is because it carries carcinogens. Researches confirmed that excessive wear of polyester fabrics can generate problems such as skin, lung and heart cancer, among others.
Polyester can cause respitory infections
Polyester shouldn’t be in your bed because research has shown it can cause respiratory issues. Indeed, excessive wear of polyester fabrics can cause chronic and severe respiratory infections.
To learn more about respiratory infections caused by synthetic materials, visit this page.
Polyester can cause skin problems, or make skin problems worse
Polyester has also shown to cause, or o make existing skin problems worse, affecting or causing rashes, itching, redness, ezcema and dermatitis. So, if you already have sensitive skin, it’s clear that polyester shouldn’t be in your bed.
Polyester is dangerous for the environment
Not only is Polyester very harmful for people, but also it is dangerous for the environment. It’s hard recycle it. And it can take up to 200 years to biodegrade. Also, its production disposes toxins in the water and emits lots of pollutants in the air.
Polyester can affect sperm count in men
Polyester shouldn’t be in your bed also because it can cause reproductive issues. A study conducted in 1993 showed that polyester undergarments can reduce sperm count in men.
Indeed, the electrostatic potentials generated by polyester has been shown to reduce sperm count in men who wear polyester undergarments.
Polyester has shown to affect immune systems, especially those of children
In the Environmental Ilness Resource, Dr. Theresa Warner warns us of the dangers of the toxic chemicals found in synthetic materials such as polyester.
In her article, she says:
“Children are especially vulnerable to chemicals. Their immature immune and liver detoxification systems cause them to be much more sensitive than adults to such things as bleach, dyes, and toxic compounds.
When choosing the right fabrics for your children, many factors should be taken into account.
In general, the less chemical processing and fewer dies and finishes added to the fabric, the less likely the material is to cause an adverse/allergic reaction.
There are two divisions of fabrics: naturally derived and synthetic.
Synthetic fibers should be avoided for children. They are generally made of the primary sources petroleum and cellulose (cotton liners and wood pulp). They are not breathable nor absorbable, which makes them hot in summer and cold in winter. Frequently, they hold an electric charge, which produces static cling and requires chemical sprays.
Poly blends and cellulose-based synthetic fabrics (rayon, acetate, and triacetate) require heavy chemical finishes. These toxic chemicals can cause allergies, chemical sensitivities and serious health problems. “
At the same time, she adds:
“Natural fabrics include cotton, linen, wool, cashmere and silk. The best fabric for children is 100% cotton. Conventional cotton is the type sold in most stores. Although it has a few environmental drawbacks due to pesticide use, it is generally hypoallergenic, washable, breathable, soft and durable.
All children’s “sleepwear” is required by law to meet federal flammability standards. Most fabrics treated with flame-retardant chemicals continuously emit toxic formaldehyde gas.
Breathing formaldehyde gas above the levels of 0.1 parts per million for an extended period of time will cause many health problems, such as headaches, dizziness, scratchy eyes and throat, nasal congestion, coughing, and immune system abnormalities.”
Even recycling polyester is more energy intensive than producing natural fibers from scratch
During chemical recycling, the materials are chemically dissolved into their precursor chemicals. Polyester, for example, would be broken down into DMT (dimethyl terephthalate) and EG (ethylene glycol). These chemicals are then purified and used to make new polyester fiber. But the reality is that this is difficult and expensive to do.
Although recylcled polyester does use less energy than making virgin polyester, recycled polyester still uses a much higher amount than natural fibers.
Polyester takes more than 2 lifetimes to biodegrade
Although synthetic materials such as polyester do eventually breakdown, it can take up to 200 years to biodegrade!
Polyester doesn’t take care of your body during your sleep
Unlike wool, polyester does nothing to regulate your body temperature while you sleep. This is another reason Polyester shouldn’t be in your bed. Synthetic materials don’t breathe, and thus, will always leave you feeling too hot, or too cold. What’s more, most polyesters are “water resistant”.
What does this mean for the quality of your sleep?
It means the the 1-liter of body vapour everyone looses each night, will not be absorbed. Your body will feel damp. You will feel hot and uncomfortable in the summer. You will feel colder in the winter because the moisture on your skin will be cold.
So for higher quality sleep, we highly recommend sleeping in 100% natural and organic materials, as they are safer for your health, more breathable, and actually improve the quality of your sleep. Choosing natural and organic bedding, of course, is also better for the envrionment, and wildlife.
Thanks for reading!
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to share it with your friends & family if you think they would benefit from the information!
Liked our article & find this kind of topics interesting?
Sign up bellow to our Sleep Club newsletter where we talk all about sleep and natural materials with which we make our products as well as their environmental impact.