As the world becomes more sensitive to the need of the environment, the negative impact of synthetic fibers has become a cause for concern.
Natural fibers are less harmful to the environment and the society because they are derived from plants and animals which are more eco-friendly. Products manufactured from natural fabric eventually dissolves into the earth. Plant and animal based fabrics are a part of the evolutionary process of life. They return to the earth to return once more to life.
Well known plants and animals such as hemp plants, cotton trees, jute, flax, silk worms, cows and sheep have been used for centuries to produce natural fibers. Beautiful silk, cool cotton and the stately linen along with cashmere are all manufactured from natural fabric. Certain fruits and other plants are utilized in different regions to manufacture fabric.
Fabrics manufactured from hemp are resistant to ultraviolet rays which offer protection from the sun. The hemp plant is hardy, resistant to droughts and does not take long to harvest. Eighty percent of clothing made before the 1920s was constructed with hemp fabrics. The hemp plant is resistant to most pests, so the need for pesticides would be substantially less.
Clothes that are made with natural fibers are absorbent and there is less need for artificial coolants, which are pollutants.
Synthetic fibers are more harmful to the environment because they are enhanced with chemicals. Polyester and nylon fabrics are made from a substance which creates nitrous oxide. Materials that are labeled petrochemical, flame retardants, nylon, acetate and non-wrinkle are all chemically treated.
Chemicals used for the manufacture of synthetic fabrics is harmful and can enter into the water supply and cause health problems. Also workers who are continuously exposed to dangerous chemicals are at risk for developing auto-immune diseases and disease of the lung.
Products made from petrochemicals take years to break down, creating a constant need for landfills. Synthetic products that are disposed into the ocean are a threat to marine life. The threat to aquatic animals will eventually precipitate a food shortage.
Although, synthetic fibers may offer softer fabrics and more durable materials, the long term effect on the environment far outweigh any advantages. The high cost of petrol along with global awareness of how natural fibers improve overall quality of life will help motivate manufacturers to find more innovative ways to utilize natural fibers.