Clothes That Unmaketh the Man

Uploaded: 21 Jul 2012

Because smart textile design is still an emergent technology, you’ll no doubt be relieved to hear that this section will be somewhat shorter than the preceding ones.

But first, let’s deal with cotton.

Every human being on the planet today has at least one - and most likely many more - items of cotton clothing in their wardrobes. And with good reason - cotton is light, cool, and absorbent. Which is why it’s used almost exclusively in the manufacture of teeshirts and underwear. Some 60% of global cotton production is used for clothing and another 35% for furnishings.

I’ve always felt personally that there is something pure and almost virginal about cotton.

Yet the cotton industry is one of the world’s dirtiest. More pesticides are used on cotton than on any other crop except corn.

Aldicarp is one. If you take an eyedropper and apply a single drop of this to your skin, it will kill you.

Uzbekistan is the second leading cotton producer in the world. Yet pesticides so toxic that they were prohibited under Soviet rule are routinely used in Uzbekistan.

Cotton pesticides can stop nerve cell communication dead. They can also damage the immune system, and cause spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, sterility, cancer, behavioural abnormalities, memory impairment, deep depression, paralysis, and death.

And all of them can accumulate in the body and be passed on to following generations.

These lethal pesticides can still be detected on manufactured cotton clothing.

Many cotton teeshirts and other garments may have printed finishes, or plastic patches. These are made from PVC, phthalates, and other dangerous chemicals. In fact, up to 8,000 different chemicals may go into the production and processing of cotton. These are used for printing, dyeing, treating, and finishing.

Children are particularly susceptible to cotton pesticides and chemicals because of their small size, developing organ systems, and different metabolisms.

Can you think of a single child who doesn’t wear this ubiquitous material?

And textile scientist have now discovered how to make cotton impermeable to water and stains.

By immersing it in fluoride.

Wow, what a great idea.


To reacquaint yourself with the health devastation caused by fluoride, click here.

Now we come to genetically engineered cotton - Monsanto’s Bt-cotton.

Bt-cotton is produced by injecting a gene from a bacteria that has a pesticidal effect on insects - Bacillus thuringiensis. This enables the plant to produce its own pesticide internally. This capability remains after the cotton is harvested and made into clothing.

In the US, some 88% of all cotton produced is Bt-cotton.

(In the course of my research, I’ve come across many forum posts from people who say their skin infestation problems started after they bought an item of cotton clothing. Some believe that the eggs of a mutated cotton pest have hatched out and the larvae have made themselves at home in their bodies. I can find no research or evidence of this. This doesn’t mean it’s not true - just that no one has yet investigated the possibility).

Besides clothing and soft furnishings, Bt-cotton is also used in ladies’ sanitary products like tampons, and is also used to make wound bandages.

So not alone are you wearing this stuff next to your skin, if you’re a woman you’re actually putting it into your body at a time when the toxin can quickly and easily enter the bloodstream. And the same obviously applies for bandages.

Video: A shocking Freedomizer Radio interview with a woman who has researched the use of Bt-cotton in the US (11 minutes).

Naturally, all of this has been passed as safe by the FDA.

The mind boggles.

Cotton. Not so pure and virginal after all.

Link: It isn’t just cotton either - the vast majority of our fabrics today are doused in pesticides, chemicals, petroleum products, and synthetic dyes. In fact, chemical residues from finishing and coloring processes can account for up to 20% of the weight of any fabric. From the SelfGrowth website.

Link: Chemical giant DuPont teamed up with GM corporation Genencor International to engineer a genetically modified form of the dangerous pathogen E. coli to produce polyester from corn oil. This will be used to make carpets later in 2012. And the modified monomer (BioPDO) is also used in other products from biodegradable de-icers to shampoo.

Smart Textiles

As I wrote above, smart textiles is an area that’s still in development. Specific applications currently being developed include textiles that monitor pulse rate and immune system, fabrics that can charge cell phones and other electronic devices, clothing that can control body temperature and light exposure, sensors in your bedding, and gloves with a microphone, speaker, and phone dial pad.

You’re probably thinking, “Well, all these sound pretty inoffensive and useful actually.”

Here’s why I worry:

  • In exactly the same way that a loudspeaker may be used as a microphone, and vice versa, any technology that’s capable of reading an output signal is also capable of inputting a signal.
  • If any textile incorporates a computer chip, it emits EMFs - and it can be hacked into over wi-fi.
  • If a material is woven with metal wires, they can act as an antenna for electromagnetic energy.
  • A material that can recharge cell phones is essentially a battery charger and will emit EMFs.

Video: Two of the four finalists of the 2011 International Prize Competition for Students - part of the Danish Future Textiles annual event. Don’t have enough electronic smog in your life? Here’s fabric that’ll charge your phone. Plus, fabrics with built-in fertilisers to grow plants. The other two finalists designed fluffy hospital textiles with built-in nanotech biosynthesis, and light-sensitive materials that can act as intelligent sunscreens (two minutes). Note that the original video I embedded here has been removed from YouTube - I’ve substituted this.

Physicists at Wake Forest University in North Carolina have developed a fabric that serves as an extra electrical outlet. When used to line your shirt — or even your pillowcase or office chair — it converts subtle differences in temperature across the span of the clothing (say, from your cuff to your armpit) into electricity. And because different parts of your shirt can vary by about 10 degrees, you could power an MP3 player by sitting still.

According to the fabric’s creator, David Carroll, a cell phone case lined with the material could boost the battery charge by 10 to 15 percent over eight hours, using the heat absorbed from your pants pocket.

Technically, this is an electricity generator, and it, too, brings its own EMF dangers.

Video: Welcome to the future - intelligent clothing. Everything from circuit boards to perfume nano-particles to fluoride to nitrogen to polypropylene yarn can be found in the apparel of tomorrow. What I want to know is - where are the flying cars we were promised? And robots doing all the work so we could devote all our time to having fun? (eight minutes).

Finnish company Myontec recently began marketing underwear embedded with electromyographic sensors that tell you how hard you’re working your quadriceps, hamstring, and gluteus muscles. It then beams that data to a computer for analysis. More EMFs.

Video: And what about this? The impression is given here that memory alloy fibres produce the movement you see. But some of the transformations are so extreme that I believe there must be electric motors involved. Here’s a brand new way to commit suicide - get strangled by your own clothing. Please note that some fashion catwalk nudity is shown (three minutes).

From modifying fabrics to modifying skin is just one small step.

Video: “I became obsessed with this idea of blurring the perimeter of the body, so you couldn't see where the skin ended and the near environment started.” So says Lucy McRae, who describes herself as a body architect. She has also invented a pill which makes us sweat perfume. I make no comment - I’m just speechless (four minutes).

Or what about textiles that are fermented using green tea, sugar, and bacteria?

Video: Designer Suzanne Lee shares her experiments in growing a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing - but you better not wear it while it’s raining. The same material can also be used in wound bandages, or even to make replacement blood vessels (seven minutes).

There is seemingly no end to this kind of fashion “innovation” these days - and absolutely no beginning to any research whatever on the effects these technologies can have on human health when they are worn next to the skin for 16 hours at a time (or even longer).

And that’s the problem with western science today - compartmentalisation and specialisation. Neither Russian nor Chinese science operates like this - they take a synthesis approach instead. Which is why their scientific and medical research is now far in advance of ours.

And if you’re interested in the future of biotechnology like this, here’s a video focussing on nanotechnology featuring the field leader, Dr. Bob Langer.

Video: Dr. Robert Langer’s address in the Frontiers in Biotechnology Distinguished Seminar Series (90 minutes). Dr. Langer’s lecture starts at 00:13:00.

Link: Temperature sensitive textiles, wool reinvented, body odour eaters, clothing impregnated with drugs, and electrically conductive smart vests. From ABC’s “Catapult” section.

Link: Nothing is sacred. Even silk isn’t safe from scientific meddling. Here’s a report showing that silkworms can be genetically modified with spider silk genes to produce composite spider/silkworm silk.

Link: “Fashion is the recognition that mature has endowed us with one skin too few [and] that a fully sentient being should wear its nervous system externally” - the website of SmartSecondSkin. Clothing as delivery systems for pheromones, drugs, and scents and that can monitor your health and email your doctor when it detects illness.

Link: “This opens an avenue for three-dimensional polymer micro-electronics, where large-scale circuits can be designed and integrated directly into the three-dimensional structure of woven fibres” - a research paper on integrating electronics into fabrics to “enhance performance and extend functions of textiles.” From the Nature: Materials website.

With the knowledge that you and I both now have, we can see clearly that both conventional fabrics and smart textile technologies may pose serious threats to our immune systems and give rise to the rapid triggering of cancers throughout the entire body.

So how smart would it be to wear stuff like this?
Read on to continue the story...