Yoga pose

What chemicals are in our activewear?

Traditional activewear is often made from synthetic fabrics such as nylon, polyester and spandex. These materials release a large amount of greenhouse gases into the air, leak microplastics into our oceans, are non-biodegradable, and seep toxic dyes into our waterways.

What you may not realise, however, is that these products aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re also harmful to our health. 

Harmful Chemicals 

Toxins are all around us and can be found in all clothing types. Activewear is especially dangerous as sweat and friction can speed up the absorption of toxins into the body. Materials including nylon, polyester, acrylic, acetate and triacetate can even restrict toxin release, stopping your body from doing what it needs to do to keep you healthy. 

Activewear is also dangerous when it’s advertised as waterproof, wrinkle-free, or stain-proof. This generally means that toxic chemicals have been used to treat the fabric and these chemicals can irritate your skin, and cause headaches and dizziness. 

If something is advertised as anti-bacterial, it most likely contains triclosan or nanoparticle silver. Triclosan has been linked to liver cancer, and nanoparticle silver has been linked to hormone disruption and DNA damage.

60 to 80% of fabric dyes are AZO dyes, known to release chemicals when fabric comes into contact with the skin. Polyester is also often dyed using Chlorobenzenes that are toxic when inhaled and upon skin contact. 

Around 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used in the fashion industry. If you’re avoiding toxins in your skincare products, it’s time to apply the same philosophy to the clothes you put on your body.

When looking for new activewear, choose materials like hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton that don’t need pesticides to grow, and are highly breathable (without needing to add nasty chemicals). 


Here at Movemetica we only stock labels that make use of organic natural textiles, coloured with low impact and natural dyes. Browse our range of sustainable activewear. 

Workout equipment

Traditional yoga mats and other workout equipment are generally made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). In addition to being bad for the environment, the World Health Organisation has stated that vinyl chloride is known to cause cancer. To make equipment flexible, phthalates are often added. Phthalates, which are found in everything from lunch boxes to hairspray, have been linked to hormonal system disruption, breast cancer, diabetes and asthma

It was also found that chemicals including Volatile Oil Compounds (VOCs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are released from traditional yoga mats as breathable gas. This gas can cause headaches, nausea, allergic reactions, and many more negative health effects.  

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Cork is a steady and comfortable material that is a plastic-free and non-toxic alternative to conventional workout equipment. Meg (which stands for Modern Exercise Goods) designed their 100% biodegradable cork products after learning that 99.9% of foam rollers end up in landfill, where they sit decomposing for 500 years! Meg also love cork forests as they provide homes to 200 animal and 135 plant species, protect against erosion, reduce carbon dioxide levels, and provide well-paying agricultural employment. 

We love brands that share our values of sustainable, transparent, and fair practices! You can browse our range of Meg products here. 

Keep your workout routine clean, green and toxin free and enjoy feeling good and knowing that you’re making a positive impact on the planet. 


- About the author -

Amber Hall

"Amber is a writer who is passionate about leading a more sustainable life and helping others to do the same. She loves reading, watching movies, and travelling. On the weekend you’ll find her checking out the latest vegan restaurants and cafes."


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