Thursday, May 9, 2013

allergy to fabrics

Good to see Terter's post and that her daughter is doing better.

Like Rosey said, fabrics are one big pile of chemicals.  If it's not the dyes, it's the finishes.
Example --- last year, I bought a half-yard of the Oliver+S quilters cotton.  At the store it had a lovely 'hand',  soft, yummy.   I pre-washed it and did not recognize the scratchy, rough !@#$ that came out of the dryer.    All the finishing chemicals were gone.

My fabric/chemical issues aren't contact, but upper respiratory from the out-gassing when the hot iron hits the unwashed fabric.  The few times I had a sewing project and no time to pre-wash and iron all that yardage,   I can smell the chemicals every time I press a block, etc.   I'm talking about Moda fabric, not even the cheap rot-gut fabric Made in XXXXX from big box chain stores.

These sensitivities developed over time, over repeated exposure, until finally my immune system went overboard.   I'm 60 y/o and have more allergies now than I had 20 and 30 years ago.   Our exposure to various toxic chemicals that enter our body through cosmetics & lotions,  foods and even our water, not to mention the environment/air we breathe, etc.,   gradually wears down the immune system of many (not all) people until our immune system overreacts.


At May 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM , Blogger RoseyP said...

Doris, you could not have said it better about the chemicals we're exposed to in our quilt cloth and in our daily living as women. And I say "women" and I'll tell you why. It is women who sew; it is women who clean; it is women who wear perfume, it is women who end up with mystifying medical issues in their forties, generally, because, as Doris points out, it's a slow build-up of chemical inhallents and topical exposures that eventually leads us to a medical doctor who can't figure out, after doing a few tests, why we are reacting the way we do, why we have skin erruptions, why we have allergies...they call it allergies...I'm not sure it is allergies but more sensitivities when our bodies cannot tolerate chemical exposures after awhile. And so, when someone like me has a serious reaction to anesthetics, someone who has managed my own affairs since the death of my late husband when I was in my early thirties and who bought and sold houses, paid my bills, raised my kids and had a brain before I had this adverse drug reaction and didn't have one after it. I had brain fog so badly that if someone asked me what a bridge was, I'd know, that thing you put across water so you don't get wet crossing it. Sounds far-fetched? I was like this for years afterward, it's why I moved to the country, on the advice of two medical doctors and one naturopath. Get out of pollution as much as you can, they said and you will regain your health to some degree. Still, I suffer from inflammation and this is what everyone who is exposed to the chemicals (in cloth, in cleaning products, in perfumes, etc) can end up with. It depends on how your body can process and get rid of chemical exposures. And the irony of this all is, when doctors can't figure out what's wrong with us women with our quirky symptoms, they suggest that maybe we should see a psychiatrist because it's all in our heads. Let me tell you a true story about a cow that came into my home in the city of Toronto. It ran through from the abetoir many miles away and ended up breaking through the glass sliding doors in my home, being chased by the men from the abetoir. The odds of this happening are pretty slim, right. I was getting dressed for the day after the children had just left for school when I heard the awful shattering of glass and looked out the bedroom door, down the hallway of my bungalow, to find something standing in my living room...I'm shortsighted and without glasses couldn't tell what I was looking at. It moved to another window, the adrenalin shot through my body with fright & it went back out through another glass door, eventually was shot & I ended up with burning indigestion for several months; finally my doctor sent me to an internist. When he asked me if I knew how this all started, I told him: I had a cow in the house. Later, he wrote my doctor and said: this woman needs a psychiatrist. She wrote him back and said: she really did have a cow in the house. It is so easy for women, in particular, to be dismissed medically because of something a doctor can't figure out. It's still a male-dominated world. That's my soapbox for the day. I won't give up quilting but I iron with the door open beside my ironing board after I've washed my cloth in very hot water or I iron outside on my porch and try not to breathe in the chemical fumes from my quilt cloth.

At May 10, 2013 at 2:46 AM , Blogger Laura in IA said...

I've limited my activities outside the home a lot because of the chemicals and many fragrances that are currently invading our environment - fabric softeners, laundry detergents, personal products. My reactions tend to be gastrointestinal along with the brain fog. The respiratory issues are the only ones the specialist could deal with two years ago. I think the fybromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome that they will finally now diagnose are most likely caused by these same chemicals and I know a few men are suffering this now. Do you think our genetic origins have anything to do with how our body process the exposure? My origin is mainly Scotch/Irish/English. Anyway I have gone as organic as possible in all products. The stores that sell these tend not to have the abundance of fragrant products that I can smell entering any Big Box store or grocery. I figure I will control as much of my environment and what I put in and on my body as I can. It seems to help, but the least bit of exposure creates a couple of days of recovery time. I fear moving to the country because the agriculture in Iowa, thus the country, is one big cesspool of chemicals. I just can't give up the pleasure I get from quilting even if it eventually shortens my life.

At May 10, 2013 at 4:33 AM , Blogger RoseyP said...

Laura, you have described completely and in shorter words than mine, my exact medical issues. When I was in very poor shape, I could not walk down the aisle in the grocery store where detergents, etc. were sold. The cake mix aisles were another source of odours I couldn't tolerate; stores with scented candles. Like you, I cannot give up the one thing that brings me such pleasure, my quilting, but in the end, some of us pay a big price for what we do. I also have digestive issues; I believe Doris as well; I have mold allergies; I have fibromyalgia. When I go out to play in the traffic, as I call it, driving long distances, into the city or on the hwy., it can take me a day or more to clear out. My reactions: brain fog and distortion of thought processes; feeling weepy, achey body and a general feeling of unwellness. My nails on my hands and feet are becoming distorted, dipping saucer-like on some, splitting and snagging cloth. In the quilt guild that I formed in Toronto, at the time I became ill, there were at least four or five other quilters who were experiencing similar immune issues. Thanks for your input, Laura.


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