Many people choose to wear workout clothes while they exercise. The attire keeps active folks cooler and drier by wicking sweat away from their bodies, and most articles of athletic wear feature built-in compression that helps support muscles. However, although there are many benefits to the clothes, there could be a pretty big downside - that they are toxic.
Research has found a toxic chemical in some brands and it could be getting absorbed into your skin. BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a chemical used to make plastic, and it is also used in Spandex, which is found in lots of workout clothes made by big name brands. High levels of it were found in articles manufactured by Athleta, Reebok, New Balance, PINK, The North Face, Nike, Asics, All In Motion, Brooks and more. It's a big issue because your sweat contains oil, and that oil encourages chemicals in plastic to dissolve, so the oil in your sweat could be bringing out the chemicals from the clothes you're wearing and your skin might then be absorbing them.
Researchers at the Center for Environmental Health said, "Even at really low levels of exposure, there can be adverse health effects. So we're very concerned." Since BPA has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, asthma and other conditions, their concerns are warranted.
So how do you stay safe? You'll want to check the tags on your workout clothes to see what they're made from. Ideally, you stick to clothes made from minimally processed natural textiles like organic cotton, hemp or merino wool. Otherwise, to reduce exposure, be sure to change out of your gym clothes once your workout is complete.