WimsBits handy stuff product chemicals

Clothing and food product chemicals  

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handy stuff product chemicals

Below you will find some regularly used synthetic materials used for clothing and food products.

clothing product chemicals


Three kinds of product are made from acetate:

Vinyl acetate is a chemical liquid which is often known as sodium acetate or sodium ester.
Vinyl acetate burns easy, due to e.g. a spark. Vinyl acetate can irritate the eyes, on the body or when breathing it. Vinyl acetate is badly tested on humans, on animals it caused tumours and affected the immune system.
This material could be toxic for humans to wear, and is not advised for food products.

Butyl acetate is chemical liquid, it is more toxic than vinyl acetate. Butyl acetate is naturally found in e.g. apples and bananas, and made chemically too.
Butyl acetate is highly flammable, it just takes a spark. Butyl acetate can irritate eyes, skin and lungs. Tert-butyl acetate has cancer risks for humans.

Cellulose acetate is the fibre made from it. Cellulose acetate is made of wood pulp and acetic acid. It is used mainly in filtered cigarettes.
Cellulose acetate has a low toxic qualification. Cellulose acetate breathes, and it is often replaced by polyester.

Acrylic fibres, nylon

The main ingredient of acrylic fibres is acrylonitrile, also called vinyl cyanide. It is a carcinogen, causing brain, lung and bowel cancer and a mutagen aiming for the central nervous system. It enters the body through skin absorption, inhalation or ingestion. Some acrylic plastics very easily burn. Negative health effects of acrylic fibres, e.g. breast cancer on women, may take 15 years.

Nylon production uses the precursors benzene, a known human carcinogen, and hydrogen cyanide gas, which is extremely poisonous. The use of organophosphate flame retardants and dyes makes it worse for humans. Nylon has poor sunlight resistance.
When the acrylic fibre is used as intended, no unhealthy effects should appear.
Shrinkage can be caused by medium hot washing, followed by medium hot drying for 15 to 17 minutes after the clothing being dry.

Cotton, conventional or traditional and organic cotton

Conventional or traditional grown cotton is rather environmentally dangerous for the workers growing it in the fields, because of problems like memory loss, birth defects, paralyses or death.
The workers manufacturing it may suffer from possible allergies, poisoning and cancer due to the use of harsh toxins.
Consumers are at risk since their skin may absorb harmful chemicals, and the clothing may release gasses. The huge quantities of harmful pesticides used on conventional cotton may be carcinogenic. Often used chemicals are formaldehyde, heavy metals, nickel, lead, chlorine and bleach for traditional cotton.
Organic cotton has none of these disadvantages. Growing and manufacturing organic cotton does not use pesticides or synthetic chemicals. It uses natural compost, beneficial insects and botanical methods.
Organic cotton is the best choice here.


Polyester is a petroleum based polymer, the monomer is containing the ester functional group. It is a common clothing fibre, resistant to extreme heat. Polyester itself seems a relatively harmless fibre, in final products, though some people with a sensitive skin cannot wear it.
Some shrinkage can be done by the longest hottest washing, followed by the longest hottest drying OR, not and, low to medium heat ironing, with a cloth over the wet inside out clothing. Shrinkage should be done between 68 and 81 degrees Celsius, extreme shrinkage above 80 degrees and below 100 degrees. The washing process can be repeated as often as you like, the ironing just a single or few times.
The fabric worn as underwear may cause a reduced sperm count due to the electrostatic field, during wearing.
Polyester worn during pregnancy may cause low serum progesterone levels, and or abortion.
Already a 50/50 polyester-cotton mix does not have these effects.


Polyamide-imide is member of the meta-aramide family. Polyamide-imide is permanently non-flammable by nature, due to a high portion of aromatic structures combined with double bonds.

Polyamide seems to be a relatively healthy chemical fibre, used in heat and fire resistant clothing.


Spandex, is known as elastane too. Is was trademarked as Lycra®.
is able to stretch more than 500% without breaking, and keep its original shape;
is comfortable to wear;
will resist body fluids;
does not breathe, when e.g. sweating;
is not heat resistant at all and should not be washed hot.
Spandex is a durable, non static, material, with no health problems found, so far.

Viscose, rayon or modal

Making viscose starts with wood pulp, usually using e.g. bamboo. The cellulose from the wood is treated with caustic soda and carbon disulphide. Since viscose or rayon begins with wood, it is not a synthetic material.
Modal, sometimes called bamboo rayon, is a variety of viscose, made of beech wood fibres, it is water absorbent and it feels soft.
The manufacturing of viscose or rayon may cause heart, skin and nervous system problems on humans.


Wool does not irritate, it should be comfortable to wear. When it does, some chemicals on the wool irritate. Wool is always worn by sheep before, virgin wool is wool just not being used elsewhere before. Chemicals are used when making wool usable, organic certification guarantees it is not. Organic wool this is.

Organic wool is a fine material to wear.

plastic cup, beaker and glass chemicals

Below you will find some regularly used plastic materials for plastic cups and plastic food products. On plastic you will find a recycling triangle with a code in it.
The following codes are used:

3: PVC or V
5: PP
6: PS

1: PET or PETE

PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalat):
When damaged, DEHP could leak, a possible cause for cancer, or hormone disturbances. PET or PETE is easy to recycle. When disposed of correctly.
PET or PETE bottles are safe for one way use.

Reusable plastics in general should be disposed of when cracked or have changed colour and should not be heated, to avoid leaching toxins.


HDPE (High-density polyethylene):
HDPE can be recycled easily.
HDPE is safe for repeated use.

3: PVC or V

PVC or V (Polyvinyl chloride):
When Polyvinyl chloride is made, dioxin is released, a possible cause of cancer. PVC accumulates in humans, animals and the environment.
PVC is a substance better to avoid.


LDPE (Low-density polyethylene):
LDPE is easy to recycle.
LDPE is one of the safer plastics for repeated use.

5: PP

PP (Polypropylene):
PP can be recycled easily.
PP is a safe plastic to be used repeatedly.

6: PS

PS (Polystyrene):
PS has a basis of styrene which is a hazardous chemical, not safe for humans. PS can release styrene, which is suspected to cause cancer, toxic or genetic damage. PS breaks down very poorly in the environment. PS usually is not part of a recycling scheme.
Better avoid PS.


OTHER (acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid (a bioplastic)):
OTHER is various group of plastics. From hazardous for humans till human friendly bioplastic.
(PC), (Polycarbonate):
PC can release, during normal use, Bisphenol-A which is suspected to cause cancer, toxic or genetic damage.
PLA (Polylactide plastics):
PLA is a plastic made from plants, like corn, sugar cane, and potatoes. Put a PLA object in your compost heap, and it will decompose in about 2 to 4 weeks. Most plastics need about 100 years to biodegrade.
PLA is too new to tell if it is safe.
This group is safer to avoid, unless it concerns a bioplastic, like PLA.

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