Indonesia’s Citarum River is so toxic, it causes burns on contact. The river shore is home to hundreds of textile factories. Chemical dyes from these factories has 5 million people and wildlife living in the river basin suffering from life threatening consequences.

The Citarum River’s chemical bath includes lead, mercury, arsenic, and nonylphenol, all used for dyeing clothes. The worst part? Nonylphenol is not just poisonous to wildlife, it also stays in our clothes after it hit the racks and remains in our clothes through a few washes. And while nonylphenol is banned in the European Union, the U.S. has only named alternatives. Yikes.

What we’re coming in contact with on our clothes is nothing compared to the exposure to garment makers and residents of these factory towns. It’s not good for anyone.

Citarum River
Photo: Yahoo


If we want fewer Citarum Rivers, we have to go natural.  The incredible brand Study New York is a great example of a brand that uses natural dyes for a more sustainable manufacturing process. “The types of dyes used on our fabrics range from natural, plants and vegetable, environmentally friendly, procion low impact, and fiber reactive dyes,” the brand states on their website. Yes, vegetable dyes! If it’s good enough to eat, it’s good enough to wear, right?

Photo: Study New York
Photo: Study New York

If you want to feel comfortable in your clothes, know the chemicals that were used to complete the look. When you think about what you put on your body, supporting brands like Study New York just makes the organic cotton feel that much softer.

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