If you have ever asked yourself if it is healthy to wear Spandex, you are in good company. Thousands of women and men have this question. But the answer is complex. Some experts believe that it is not safe to wear this material. They say it can cause specific health problems such as cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection. And some scientists also believe that it can be harmful to wear because it can cause breathing problems.
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Elastane vs. Spandex
Many people need to learn the difference between elastane and Spandex. Both are synthetic fibers and have a similar function, but there is a difference.
One is a stretchy fabric that makes the clothing stretch out. The other is a super-flexible fabric that can be manipulated to create the desired effect.
Elastane is the way to go if you’re looking for the optimum elasticity in a material. Unlike rubber, it is not durable and will tend to stretch out after a few uses. This is why manufacturers usually use a blend of cotton and Spandex to balance out the moisture-trapping properties.
Spandex is a very versatile material. It provides a lot of stretches, which is helpful for activewear and tight-fitting costumes. But, it does not hold its shape well so it will wiggle around in the wash. So, it is best to put it in a mesh laundry bag to prevent snagging.
On the other hand, elastane is more suited for form-fitting clothes. It was invented for women’s undergarments over 50 years ago.
Elastane is an artificial fiber that is very elastic. A variety of industrial processes create it. Most of the elastane in clothing is made through dry spinning.
While elastane is an excellent stretchy material, it is a bit more expensive than other synthetic fabrics. On the other hand, cotton is a breathable, biodegradable crop that doesn’t require any fossil fuel as its raw material.
Lastly, the other aforementioned is the Spandex – the previous is a trademark. Although the name is used in various ways, it is a short-chain polymer.
While spandex fabric and elastane are similar, the name of the aforementioned has to do with the quality of the material. Generally, a higher percentage of elastane results in more comfortable clothing and an improved fit.
Elastane’s low breathability
If you’re looking for a healthy, vegan alternative to sportswear, you may want to consider elastane as a synthetic fiber. It’s durable, form-fitting, and resistant to chemicals. While it doesn’t have the same biodegradability as natural fibers, it can be composted or recycled.
Elastane is found in 80 percent of consumer clothing in the United States. Activewear, yoga pants, athletic socks, and sports bras are all commonly made with elastane. But elastane also has some problems, including its contribution to garbage in oceans and rivers.
For one thing, elastane’s low breathability can make it difficult for people to stay warm. Because it traps moisture, it doesn’t allow air to circulate, making it less breathable than other synthetic fabrics. To remedy this, elastane fabric is often blended with other fabrics, such as cotton, hemp, or modal.
During the late 1950s, developed elastane fabric. They marketed the material.
It is made from a chemical known as polyurethane. Many kinds of plastics contain polyurethane. The elastane used in swimsuits and leggings is typically made with at least 85 percent polyurethane. However, this doesn’t mean elastane isn’t harmful. Some studies have linked it to respiratory ailments like asthma, and it may be a carcinogen.
Another drawback to elastane is that it can be challenging to recycle. Because it’s a blend of different fibers, separating it from other materials can be challenging.
One elastane manufacturer, Spanflex, has committed to sustainability. They produce their elastane yarn from recycled plastic bottle polyester and production waste. Their Eco Fabric, for example, is certified to comply with the Global Recycled Standard.
When it comes to elastane, you can buy the brand name, but you should look for the percentage of elastane in the product. The Global Organic Textile Standard allows manufacturers to use small amounts of elastane in organic garments.
The best way to test this hypothesis is actually to make a pair of pants out of it. It’s not a particularly fun task. One such example is a small but savvy startup in San Diego. This isn’t my oh my, but the company’s product is a solid clone. There are a few minor caveats and a few pitfalls, but all in all, it’s a definite win. Eco fabric is a certified greener cousin of the ubiquitous Spandex. On the downside, it is slightly different from the cheapest of the flock. As a result, the company has to spend big bucks on a high-quality supply chain. To this end, a small team has been assembled to develop a streamlined supply chain strategy. For one, the Eco fabric is produced only by enlisted volunteers in small batches.