NATURAL VS SYNTHETIC
Before the invention of chemical compound based dyes, pigments extracted from natural herbs and fruits were the only means of dying. These dyes were completely biodegradable and posed no harm – to either the dyer or the environment.
Modern-day synthetic or non-natural dyes are predominantly made of a family of compounds that are –
TOXIC TO THE WORKERS
Chemical compound based dyes use approximately 8000 different toxic chemicals during various stages of production. The large scale industrialisation of the synthetic dyeing process affects workers adversely and they often complain of rashes, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue and dizziness.
TOXIC TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Did you know the amount of water needed to dye (using synthetic dyes) a piece of fabric is 40 times its weight? That is a lot of water and the resulting wastewater may contain up to 98% sulphuricacid, chlorine or heavy metals like mercury or lead. Often, this untreated toxic waste finds its way into rivers or lakes leading to widespread contamination. This not only affects aquatic life but also humans as many depend on such water bodies for their sustenance.
TOXIC TO YOU
The skin is the largest and most absorptive organ in the human body. The dye fixative, used to burn the dye colour onto the fabric, can be quite toxic. Since clothing comes into prolonged contact with skin, these chemicals often leach and get absorbed into the skin causing rashes. This happens especially when you get warm and the skin pores open up for perspiration. Eventually the chemicals work their way into the bloodstream resulting in chemical sensitivity induced issues such as headache, nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue, or dizziness.