When cigarette smoke, fine dust and bacteria get near the human body, the first thing they run into is clothing.
Clothes can help block harmful substances, but they also absorb them and release them to the skin.
"Clothing, when it's completely clean, then it can act also as a protector. But then, after some time, because the clothing is absorbing tobacco smoke, then it starts becoming a source."
According to a study out of Denmark, nicotine was detected in the blood of people who wore clothes exposed to cigarette smoke …for more than 72 hours.
Another study found that cotton fibers one meter in width and length …can absorb one milligram of nicotine, …which is equal to ten light cigarettes.
Clothes also absorb and release heavy metals like lead and beryllium, and cancer-causing agents like dioxin.
It's even more harmful to wear contaminated clothes when exercising because sweat makes the bond between the fibers of the clothes and the pollutants weaker, meaning harmful particles are released more quickly.
Citing studies like that one, researchers in Switzerland say there's a need for in-depth research on how fabrics absorb and release harmful substances.
"If you just check your clothes, you will see what material is used, whether it's cotton or wool or silk. All clothing should basically include in the label which indicates not only what materials are used, but also what substances are used in the fabrication process, like nutritional labels."
To protect the body, the Swiss researchers advise having different clothes for indoors and outdoors …and washing clothes immediately after coming back inside.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.