5 Really Scary Secrets Hiding In Your Closet

by Mark Heiman

closet

Bought clothes online in the last year? How about from a store like GAP, H&M, Forever 21, or other large retailers? Yes? Then you may unknowingly be hiding numerous, and even potentially lethal, secrets in your closet. The dirty truth is that almost every article of clothing you purchased from these retailers has a dark past they don’t want you to know about. Below are just a few of the scary secrets hiding in your closet.

Death
Large retailers are known for their use of third world sweatshops to produce their clothing. You’ve heard of the deplorable working conditions, but you may not realize that in many cases they are so bad that they become deadly. A terrible example of this came in April 2013 when a factory in Savar, Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,100 workers and injuring another 2,500. Some of the US’s largest and most notable brands were linked to the factory’s operation, including including Sears, Wal-Mart and The Children’s Place.

Poverty
The workers in the factories that make the majority of your clothing are also severely underpaid. After the Savar collapse, the Bangeladesh government raised the minimum wage for workers to $68 a month, a 77% increase. A report from the Center for American Progress said that even with this increase, the salary represented just 14% of a livable wage. Even worse, the report found that this problem isn’t remotely confined to Bangladesh. They found that in 15 of the top 21 countries that export garments to the US, the average wage was only 36.8% of the local living wage.

Toxins
Worse yet the scary secrets of your clothes won’t just impact some faraway worker – they may impact your health. A 2012 report from Green Peace found that 89 of the 121 items of clothing tested contained some form of toxic chemicals. The chemicals included cancer-causing agents to nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). NPEs have been linked to reproductive health issues in rats and are known water pollutants, killing off aquatic life. Our skin actually absorbs these chemicals while we wear our clothing. Surprised they didn’t tell you about this?

Environmental Degradation
The manufacture of clothing is so resource intensive that the organic cotton needed for one t-shirt can consume over 500 gallons of water during its growth. This massive demand for water in the manufacturing process has lead to drained lakes, including the word’s eighth largest lake, the Aral Sea. Draining of freshwater resources devastates aquatic life, limits local economies, and increases climate change. Worse, once that water is used in the process it is often released to contaminate other supplies. In the end, that simple t-shirt in your closet is draining the world of one of its most precious resources.

Consumer Apathy
Perhaps the worst secret of them all is that these terrible things are happening with your support. Every day thousands of purchases are made with complete indifference to the impacts created by our destructive addiction to fast fashion. By making these purchases, we are continuing to support death, poverty, toxins and environmental degradation. The only way this will end is to make these secrets known to more people. Then we must vote with our purchasing decisions and only support brands that honor sustainable practices and work to avoid these impacts.

We started lur® to be one of these new eco-friendly and socially responsible brands. All of our clothing is made from 100% recycled materials and our process is designed to use 65% less water and energy than typical clothing manufacturing processes. We think we are the future – one brand in what will become many – producing sustainable apparel for those that care.

Do you care? Will you support this dream? Share this post to shine light on these dark secrets and end our addiction to fast fashion.

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