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For a while, I've been getting interested in the chemicals used in making fabrics and garments.  There can be a great many of them, and some are nasty.  For us, with our Fabrics always 100% wool, there are relatively fewer chemicals, but there are still chemicals involved.  This is an important subject, so ... this page will eventually have a lot of info.

A few things have gotten me thinking about this:

  • In the days when I needed to wear a business suit every day, I was very uncomfortable in synthetic shirts.  I was comfortable only in 100% cotton.  Maybe hemp or linen would have been OK ... didn't try them.  But polyester was a NO!
  • A few years ago some guys at Fort Wainwright told me they absolutely hated the T-Shirts the Military issued ... that they really looked forward to just getting out of those shirts.  Someone took me to the PX so I could get a pack of T-Shirts and see for myself.  As soon as I put on one of those Ts, my skin was telling me TAKE IT OFF NOW!!!!!!!!   I believe when your body reacts that way, you should listen. And I hate the idea that those shirts are standard issue
  • For the last year or so, I've been reading some of the work of Alden Wicker, who writes about clothes and chemicals ... mostly not good, and some very bad.  A web-search will find a great many references to her.  You can see what she is doing by visiting her website
  • Most important of all ... I keep reading that fertility is waaaaay down.  That people in many parts of the world, USA included, are having trouble making babies.

So I've been wondering about chemicals that might be found in our Fabrics.  One of the great things about working with American Woolen Company is that they've already done or thought about a lot of what crosses my mind.  When I asked them about chemicals, they'd already done some testing of other fabrics they make, and have an established relationship with a testing lab.  So they sent off a sample of our FullWeight Lynx Pattern Fabric to be tested for "Azo Colourants" and "Free and Hydrolised Formaldehyde".  Our Lynx Pattern is a mixture of dyed and undyed (natural color) yarns. Arthur Lam, one of the main guys at AWC, sent me the test results.

The Azo levels are tested/measured by 22 different methods of extraction.  Acceptable results are <= 30 milligrams per kilogram.  For all the extractions, our Fabrics showed <5.

The formaldehyde extraction showed <10 mg/kg, where 75 is acceptable.

So, I think these are very good results, but I will need to do some research to find out more.  I also need to find out what other tests could be run.


Given that we founded WeatherWool in 2009, I'm coming to these concerns pretty late in the game.  But actually, it seems only recently that there has been a general focus on what chemicals might be in clothing in general, underwear and base layers in particular, and what effects those chemicals might have on people.

Regarding the recent and very steep declines in fertility and reproductive hormones, some researchers have been pointing at chemicals in clothing ... and not necessarily the fabrics themselves, but also the processing agents, dispersants, solvents, fixatives, dyes, fire retardants, surface treatments ...

I keep hearing our skin is our largest organ.  Whether that's medically correct I don't know, but the point seems valid.  And the skin can certainly absorb things that are then dispersed through our bodies.  Many medicines and treatments are administered via skin patches.

WeatherWool is generally not worn against the skin, and that should mitigate against absorption of whatever chemicals might be present.  And our Fabrics are always pure wool.  I'm almost certain the raw wool itself brings nothing harmful.  But maybe there are things we should be testing for?

Our garments contain little else besides wool ... thread, zippers, buttons, ribbons.  Could they contain something nasty?

Nevertheless, I'm interested in the chemicals used in turning our raw wool into finished clothing, and whether there are any chemicals besides the formaldehyde and Azo.

I'll be updating this page irregularly, as things come up.

Would love to get input!! --- THANKS!


29 February 2024 --- Ralph