We can absorb pounds of toxic chemicals each year from the products we wear. What's in yours?

folded clothes
Mercurii Baby​​

Wherever you are on your journey towards natural or non-toxic living, at some point, you may wonder what ingredients make up the clothing your family is wearing. That’s a good question!

What Are Clothes Made Of?

The clothing industry is one of the dirtiest industries out there. Insecticides and pesticides are sprayed on cotton crops. Chemicals are then added to the clothes in order to 

  • Resist stains, static, shrinking, and wrinkles

  • Repel water

  • Color the clothing and prevent fading

  • Make the fabric flame retardant

  • Fight bacteria

While chemical exposure is inevitable, safe and non-toxic products are especially important to have for brand-new babies since their skin is still permeable and absorbs higher amounts than the tougher, thicker skin of an adult.  

There are thousands of harmful chemicals used in manufacturing clothes today. So let’s go over a few of the most common toxic ingredients in clothing today. Then we’ll touch on the importance of organic, non-toxic ingredient clothing and where you can find them.  


Ever notice the “new smell” when you buy brand-new clothes? That’s formaldehyde. It’s a compound used to preserve clothes. 

Even exposure to low levels can result in unpleasant symptoms for some people, like skin irritation, nausea, headaches, asthma, and sinus issues like a runny nose or sore throat. 

Furthermore, formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen. Anything that has the potential to be a carcinogen can increase your risk of developing cancer, and there are several on this list.

Azo Dyes

The vibrant colors you love and adore in conventional clothes are often fixed into the fabric using manufactured chemicals, like azo dyes. This chemical is water soluble and can absorb right into your skin. 

Azo dyes can cause skin and eye irritation. They can also disrupt hormones. Studies show that some azo dyes can release aromatic amines, which are mutagenic and can cause cancer. 

Since these dyes have extensive studies showing their harm, some countries and states have and are working to ban them from being put in clothes.

Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs)

NPEs are a chemical used in manufacturing many things, including clothes and laundry detergent. When it releases into our environment, it breaks down into nonylphenols (NPs). 

While NPEs in clothes have been banned in other countries like Europe, the U.S. does not currently have restrictions on this substance. 

Studies show that NP is an endocrine-disrupting chemical and that this toxin has positive associations with multiple cancers and can increase the progression of breast cancer. 

The Answer to Toxic Clothes

Cutting down on toxins from your clothes and everyday life when you can is essential. Thoroughly washing any conventional clothing you buy before wearing it is a must to help remove the chemicals that companies spray on the clothes. One great way to avoid these harmful chemicals is to add organic cotton to your family’s wardrobe. 

Organic cotton is grown in soil that has been free of prohibited chemicals for at least three years. Companies are not supposed to use toxic pesticides and fertilizers on organic cotton clothes, and many companies use color dyes that are natural and non-toxic. 

Take Mercurii Baby, for example. Mercurii Baby clothes are GOTS certified, which regulates that fabrics must be free from these toxins. 

Established in 2020, this company creates 100% organic cotton products. One of our collections is Dye Drops which has clothes, play mats, sheets, and blankets. These are all hand-dyed with some of the most unique and organic coloring elements from nature like 

  • Turmeric 
  • Coffee
  • Beets
  • Purple cabbage
  • Black beans
  • Chlorophyll
  • Logwood
  • Lac
  • Madder root

Take a look at the beautiful dye-drop products below! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments, and connect with us on Instagram or Facebook!

Medical Advice Disclaimer


The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website, are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, if you think you have an illness, before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

November 04, 2022 — Cassi Donegan, Licensed Practical Nurse

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