True Cellular Formulas Team - April 24, 2023

Why Most Workout Clothes Are Toxic

The Impact of Toxic Workout Clothes on Your Health and the Environment

Risks of Toxic Cosmetics and Body Products

Workout clothes are an essential part of any fitness enthusiast's wardrobe. They provide comfort, support, and functionality during exercise, allowing for optimal performance. However, most people are unaware of the potential toxicity of the materials commonly used in workout clothes[1]. This article will discuss the hidden dangers of synthetic materials, the health risks associated with toxic workout clothes, and how to make healthier choices for both your body and the environment.

The Problem with Synthetic Materials

Workout clothes are primarily made from synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, spandex, and acrylic. These materials are chosen for their durability, stretch, moisture-wicking properties, and affordability.[1] However, the production of these materials often involves the use of harmful chemicals, which can be detrimental to both the environment and human health.

Harmful Chemicals in Production

Synthetic materials are treated with a range of chemicals during the manufacturing process to achieve the desired properties. Some common chemicals include dyes, flame retardants, water and stain repellents, and plasticizers.[2] Many of these chemicals have been linked to various health issues and environmental pollution.

Environmental Impact of Synthetic Materials

The production and disposal of synthetic materials can have significant environmental consequences, such as microplastic pollution and non-biodegradable waste.[3] These issues contribute to the degradation of ecosystems and have long-lasting effects on the planet.

Health Risks Associated with Toxic Workout Clothes

The harmful chemicals used in the production of synthetic workout clothes can pose various health risks, including skin irritation and allergies, respiratory issues, endocrine disruption, and carcinogenic potential.[4]

Skin Irritation and Allergies

Exposure to the chemicals in workout clothes can cause contact dermatitis, an itchy and inflamed skin reaction.[5] Some individuals may also develop rashes or hives as a result of an allergic reaction to chemicals in their workout clothes.[6]

Respiratory Issues

Exposure to certain chemicals in workout clothes may trigger asthma attacks or exacerbate existing respiratory issues.[7] Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to the chemicals in their workout clothes, leading to respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing.[8]

Endocrine Disruption

Chemicals in workout clothes, such as phthalates and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), can disrupt hormonal balance, potentially leading to health issues like thyroid dysfunction and insulin resistance.[9] Some chemicals found in workout clothes have also been linked to reduced fertility in both men and women.[10]

Carcinogenic Potential

Some chemicals used in workout clothes, such as azo dyes and PFCs, have been identified as potential carcinogens, raising concerns about the long-term effects of exposure.[11] Continuous use of toxic workout clothes may increase the risk of developing health issues, including cancer, due to prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals.[12]

How to Identify and Avoid Toxic Workout Clothes

To minimize exposure to harmful chemicals, it is essential to identify and avoid toxic workout clothes. Reading clothing labels, researching brands and manufacturers, opting for eco-friendly and sustainable options, and following specific washing and maintenance tips can help reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.

  1. Reading Clothing Labels

    Check the labels of workout clothes to determine the materials used and any chemicals they may have been treated with. This can help you identify potentially toxic materials and make informed choices about your purchases.

  2. Researching Brands and Manufacturers

    Look for brands that prioritize eco-friendly and sustainable practices, and avoid those known for using harmful chemicals in their products. Doing some research on the companies behind your workout clothes can help you make better choices for your health and the environment.

  3. Opting for Eco-friendly and Sustainable Options

    Choose workout clothes made from natural, organic, or recycled materials. These options are typically more environmentally friendly and may contain fewer harmful chemicals. Examples of eco-friendly materials include organic cotton, bamboo, and Tencel.[13]

  4. Washing and Maintenance Tips

    Proper care and maintenance of your workout clothes can help reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. Wash new clothing before wearing it for the first time to remove any residual chemicals from the manufacturing process. Additionally, consider using fragrance-free and eco-friendly detergents to minimize the introduction of new chemicals.

The Benefits of Choosing Non-Toxic Workout Clothes

Choosing non-toxic workout clothes can lead to improved skin health, reduced risk of health issues, support for eco-friendly and sustainable businesses, and enhanced overall well-being and peace of mind.

Improved Skin Health and Reduced Risk of Health Issues

By avoiding toxic chemicals in your workout clothes, you can reduce the risk of skin irritation and allergies, leading to healthier skin and more comfortable workouts. Wearing non-toxic workout clothes can also help minimize exposure to endocrine disruptors and potential carcinogens, reducing the risk of associated health problems.

Support for Eco-friendly and Sustainable Businesses and Enhanced Overall Well-being

When you choose non-toxic workout clothes, you are supporting businesses that prioritize environmental sustainability and human health. This, in turn, helps promote a more eco-conscious market. Knowing that you are making healthier choices for your body and the environment can contribute to a greater sense of well-being and peace of mind during your fitness journey.


The dangers of toxic workout clothes are often overlooked, but they can pose significant risks to both human health and the environment. By being conscious of the materials and chemicals used in the production of workout clothes, consumers can make healthier choices for themselves and the planet. Prioritizing personal health and environmental sustainability in our fitness routines is essential to creating a safer and more eco-friendly world for future generations.

  1. Brown, P., & Cordner, A. (2011). Lessons Learned from Flame Retardant Use and Regulation Could Enhance Future Control of Potentially Hazardous Chemicals. Health Affairs, 30(5), 906–914.
  2. Sudarsan, R., & Subramaniam, B. (2017). Eco-Friendly Textile Dyeing Using Natural Dyes from Renewable Sources. In Reference Module in Materials Science and Materials Engineering.
  3. Napper, I. E., & Thompson, R. C. (2016). Release of synthetic microplastic plastic fibers from domestic washing machines: Effects of fabric type and washing conditions. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 112(1-2), 39-45.
  4. Zug, K. A., Warshaw, E. M., Fowler, J. F., Maibach, H. I., Belsito, D. L., Pratt, M. D., ... & Taylor, J. S. (2008). Patch-test results of the North American Contact Dermatitis Group 2005–2006. Dermatitis, 19(3), 129–136.
  5. Uter, W., Lessmann, H., Geier, J., & Schnuch, A. (2010). Is the prevalence of specific contact allergy to particular allergens associated with the strength of patch-test reactions? An analysis of data from the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies. British Journal of Dermatology, 163(4), 767–775.
  6. Bernstein, J. A., Alexis, N., Bacchus, H., Bernstein, I. L., Fritz, P., Horner, E., ... & Williams, P. B. (2008). The health effects of non-industrial indoor air pollution. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 121(3), 585–591.
  7. Quirce, S., & Barranco, P. (2010). Cleaning agents and asthma. Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 20(7), 542–550.
  8. Hauser, R., & Calafat, A. M. (2005). Phthalates and human health. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 62(11), 806–818.
  9. Trasande, L., Attina, T. M., & Blustein, J. (2012). Association between urinary bisphenol A concentration and obesity prevalence in children and adolescents. JAMA, 308(11), 1113–1121.
  10. Swan, S. H., Main, K. M., Liu, F., Stewart, S. L., Kruse, R. L., Calafat, A. M., ... & Teague, J. L. (2005). Decrease in anogenital distance among male infants with prenatal phthalate exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(8), 1056–1061.
  11. Terasaka, S., Inoue, A., Tanji, M., Kiyama, R. (2004). Expression profiling of estrogen-responsive genes in breast cancer cells treated with alkylphenols, chlorinated phenols, parabens, or bis- and benzoylphenols for evaluation of estrogenic activity. Toxicology Letters, 153(2), 194–207.
  12. Grandjean, P., & Landrigan, P. J. (2014). Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity. The Lancet Neurology, 13(3), 330–338.
  13. Blackburn, R. S. (Ed.). (2009). Sustainable textiles: Life cycle and environmental impact. Woodhead Publishing.