Boxer Briefs And Fitness: A toxic combo

Boxer Briefs And Fitness:  A toxic combo

Men's Fitness Blog

Hey Guys, Stop Doing This!

You’re a fit, healthy man. You want your body functioning optimally so you eat well, drink enough water, and work out often. You pay attention to what you’re putting into your body, but have you given any thought to what you’re putting on the outside of your body? Yes, you read that right – this post isn’t about what you’re putting in your body but rather about what you’re putting your body in.

Your every-day activities could be putting your virility at risk!
Be sure to read more to find out how you can protect yourself.

Are There Chemicals in My Clothing?

Yes, there are. However, the fashion industry isn’t required to disclose them. Even natural fibers like cotton and wool have been treated with herbicides and pesticides (unless they are certified organic). Did you know that many of the dyes that are used to color your clothes are not natural? And did you know that the compounds used to make garments wrinkle-, stain-, odor-, fire-, and water-resistant are chemical? Never mind the fact that some of the fabrics themselves are made using chemical processes!

There Are Hidden Chemicals in Your Clothing

  • Conventional cotton farming accounts for 25% of the pesticides used worldwide.
  • Polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, and triacetate are made with Petrochemicals.
  • New clothing is sprayed with formaldehyde to prevent wrinkling and mildew during shipping.
    (Hey, wait. Isn’t formaldehyde the stuff they use on dead bodies?)
  • Weatherproof clothing is made using Perfluorocarbon (PFC).
  • Workout gear that promises anti-odor and anti-bacterial properties contains triclosan, nanoparticle silver, and phthalates.
  • Black clothing and denim contain Phenylenediamine (PPD).
  • Leather goods are tanned using chromium.

Are the Chemicals in Clothing Harmful to me?

Most definitely! Take a look at this table to see the harmful effects these chemicals have on your body:


Health Risks


Brain damage, fetal damage, sterility.


Skin suffocation, headaches, nausea, skin irritation, respiratory problems.


Dermatitis, lung cancer.


Kidney failure, testicular cancer.


Liver and inhalation toxicity, liver cancer.

Nanoparticle Silver

Hormone disruption and DNA damage.


Cancers, adult obesity, reduced testosterone.


Skin allergies, contact dermatitis.


Rash, skin bleaching, nosebleeds, respiratory problems, lung cancer, and alteration of genetic material (for tannery employees).

Weakened immune system, kidney and/or liver damage (for wearers).

“The good news is that by being more aware of what we are putting on our bodies, we can reduce exposure to unhealthy compounds.”
 Source Quote.

Are the Chemicals in Clothing Harmful to the Environment?

Unfortunately, the answer is also a big, resounding Yes!

“The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world.” Source Quote.

Before we consider the environment, let's take a moment to consider the people who are employed in the fabric manufacturing industry. They are exposed to these harmful chemicals first-hand and the negative effects on their health include respiratory problems because of the fumes, dermatological issues caused by handling the chemicals, and a variety of internal conditions that include several types of cancer as well liver and kidney problems.

Two of the major environmental concerns both involve one of Earth’s most precious resources – Water. 
1) The fabric manufacturing industry dumps untreated wastewater directly into rivers or the ocean. 
2) The fabric manufacturing industry uses huge amounts of water for the dyeing of fabric. (Up to 200 tons of fresh water per ton of dyed fabric!)    

How can the Chemicals in my Clothing Harm Me?

Your skin is absorbent.
Your skin needs to breathe.

Unless you’re walking around in the buff (all the guys say “Hey yeah!”) you are covering your skin with any number of layers of clothing.

Did you know that you discharge toxins through the sweat glands in your skin? Unfortunately, most of the clothes you live and work out in are made of synthetic fibers which restrict this very important toxin release.

You think buying gym-wear that's marketed as "odor- or sweat-resistant" or "anti-bacterial" or "high performance fabric" is helping you? Oh boy, it’s not!

When you’re at the gym or just generally working out, you’re elevating your core body temp and your (supposed-to-be-detox) sweating is actually accelerating the absorption of these residual chemicals from the dyes and toxic fibers through your skin and into your system.

Your body heat creates this crazy chemical reaction with the toxins in your clothing – I’m sure you guys like hot chemical reactions but I assure you this isn’t the kind you are looking for!

This table illustrates a shocking truth, Gents:  

Chemical absorption rates through the skin on various bodily regions.

Body region

Percent relative absorption



Palm of hands


Ball of foot








Ear canal




University of Florida: IFAS Extension

Did you see that?! 
Your prime property is the hot spot for absorbing chemicals?

How can I Protect Myself from the Chemicals in my Clothing?

Wherever possible opt for natural and organic fibers.

We know that replacing all the clothing in your wardrobe with items made from natural, organic fibers is a costly exercise. However, you can start by replacing a few items at a time and work your way towards a healthy wardrobe that will be of benefit to future you.

“Where do I begin?” I hear you say. 
Well, answer me this: Where are you feeling the sweatiest at the moment? 
If you could only replace one item of clothing for something sustainable and healthy I would highly recommend that you begin with your underwear.

  • Underwear has the most intimate connection to your body
  • Stretchy synthetic undies are full of chemicals
  • Your groin is a hotspot which causes an unwanted chemical reaction with all the toxins in mass-produced undies

“Synthetic undergarments have also been said to contribute to infertility in men.” Source Quote.

Opt for Sustainable, chemical-free underwear