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The Dangers Of Polyester And Why Bearaby Went Natural

Let’s jump deeper into the dangers of synthetic polyester and discover why the Bearaby team loves (and advocates for) sustainable, healthy natural fabrics.

The Dangers Of Polyester And Why Bearaby Went Natural


Polyester is a synthetic fabric made from petroleum, chemicals, water, and air. It is an energy-intensive process and results in high levels of pollution and chemical by-products.

The production of polyester can be dangerous for workers, while the products themselves can be harmful to our health as consumers.

Cheap does not mean better. Investing in a high-quality weighted blanket made from natural, sustainable fibers is an investment in your health and the environment.

Did you know?
The textile industry is the world’s most polluting industry after oil.

Bearaby is dedicated to creating the best weighted bedding for people and the planet. We also believe in helping spread the word about how to live healthier and more sustainably. That all starts with researching, learning, and sharing the benefits – and downsides – of the bedding industry.

It’s nearly impossible to live in our modern age and not own something that’s made with one infamous fabric: polyester. This cheap-to-make, easy-to-wear fabric swept the nation (and the world), becoming one of the most popular materials for clothing, bedding, and décor.

Unfortunately, polyester production is destructive. From the environment of the polyester textile mills to our home environment and even our natural environment, polyester has harmful effects that cannot be overlooked.

Let’s jump deeper into the dangers of synthetic polyester and discover why the Bearaby team loves (and advocates for) sustainable, healthy natural fabrics.

What Is Polyester?

Polyester, also known as polyethylene terephthalate, was born in the 1940s to create items from film to plastics to fashionable fabric on the cheap. For the textile industry, the result was a shiny, smooth, and flowy fabric that is now synonymous with trendy, cheap clothing.

Polyester was mostly used for clothes until the bedding industry realized that polyester could be a great way to cut corners and save money on their production costs. Today, you can find polyester and polyester blends in many bedding products from sheets to pillowcases, blankets to pajamas.

How Is Polyester Made?

Polyester is made by a chemical reaction between air, water, and petroleum. A scientific reaction then creates an artificial fiber that is thermoplastic. This means it can be melted and reformed into new fibers.

To make polyester fabric, polyester pellets are melted and spun through very small holes to create tiny fibers which look similar to natural fibers. They are then spun and woven to create textiles, and later clothes, accessories, or bedding.

A product made from polyester is typically meant for mild use. Polyester is not a durable fabric, and few cheap synthetic items are made well. This leads to the constant wardrobe renewal loop of the fast fashion industry and even trendy bedding. Good for business, bad for us and the planet.

polyester texture

The Dangers Of Polyester For Our Society

Polyester and other synthetic fabrics like nylon and acrylic have gained widespread popularity because they’re easy to produce and cheap to collect. Unfortunately, the downside is that these fabrics can be harmful to both those who make them and those who buy them.

Harmful chemicals (many of them cancer-causing carcinogens) are used during all stages of polyester production. This makes textile factories (where over 300 million people work) a dangerous environment. Chemicals and toxins enter the air and water supply and have been known to cause major problems in villages near the textile plants.

The 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse brought the terrible working conditions of textiles workers to light. Over 1,000 workers were killed and another 2,500 were injured while working in unsafe conditions.

Sadly, these incidents are not rare. Textile factories are infamous for having terribly low safety standards. Millions of workers (many of whom are children) are regularly subject to chemical exposure, machine injuries, building instability, and fires. Despite some movement towards safer regulations, the textile factories in areas like China, Indonesia, and Bangladesh still operate under lax laws and untreated water and air pollution.

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The Dangers Of Polyester For Consumer’s Health

Unfortunately, even after a polyester blanket has made its way through the shop and into your home, the downsides of polyester still exist. Polyester fabric releases chemicals like phthalates into the air and through contact with the skin. These chemicals have been shown to cause hormone disruption and health issues.

Aside from the harmful chemicals that polyester releases, this fabric also poses some more direct health concerns. Polyester is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water rather than absorbing it. This, paired with its inability to breathe, can lead to uncomfortable sweating and even skin irritation. Polyester bedding (and many a weighted blanket out there) is infamous for leaving us hot and sticky in the night and preventing a good night’s sleep.

As a synthetic fabric, polyester is more likely to cause skin irritation in general. Those with sensitive skin, issues like eczema or psoriasis, or certain allergies may find that polyester-based bedding leaves them itchy and irritable. Our bedding should be the most comfortable, nurturing items in our home – not the source of harmful irritants!

itchy skin

The Dangers Of Polyester For The Health Of The Planet

As a plastic and petroleum-based product, polyester is non-biodegradable and highly toxic to our planet. The manufacturing process itself requires over 70 billion barrels of oil each year and uses twice the amount of energy to produce as cotton. Natural and low-impact dyes do not work on polyester fibers, so harmful chemical dyes are used and later disposed of in our waterways.

Sadly, the detriment to the planet doesn’t stop with production. After we purchase a polyester item, an average of 1,900 tiny plastic fibers are shed with each wash, eventually landing in our oceans. Polyester garments and bedding are believed to be the biggest source of microplastic pollution in our oceans and water systems.

The long-life of polyester fiber is also a major issue that researchers are hoping to find an answer to. An alarming 85% of textile waste in the United States is sent directly to a landfill where these synthetic plastic fabrics will outlive us – by centuries.

A More Natural Approach

While the dangers of polyester and the synthetic textile industry are very real and distressing, we do have options. Each choice that we make as consumers towards a more sustainable, healthier environment is a step in the right direction.

This belief and hope for a better future is the driving force behind the Bearaby mission. We are working towards healthier sleep, healthier people, and a healthier planet.

To make our own big step in the right direction, we choose to make every decision with the environment’s welfare at heart:

almond napper texture


  • We source only organic cotton and naturally cooling, sustainable Tencel to make our sustainable weighted blankets. Sourced from raw eucalyptus pulp, Tencel uses 10x less water than conventional fibers and is fully biodegradable.
  • Unlike other weighted blankets that are made from synthetic materials like polyester and filled with plastic pellets that weigh the material down, our blankets are simply made from layers of fabric that have been woven together into a chunky, knitted weave.
  • We use a closed-loop manufacturing system, meaning we are zero-waste and sustainable.
  • To top it off, we’ve dedicated ourselves to researching as much as we can about sustainable resources, environmentally-friendly lifestyle tips, and the best ways to stay healthy naturally so we can pass it all on to you.

Changing the world takes time, but it is possible. Even one weighted blanket at a time.

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