Yikes! I just came across this news blurb while doing some research on wool that caused my hair to stand on end. And I thought that yesterday was Halloween.
“Sensory Perception™ named Breakthrough of the Year in USA.
The Woolmark Company congratulates its partner International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) on capturing the 2005 FiFi® Award, the highest honour in the fragrance industry, for ‘Technological Breakthrough of the Year’ with its unique micro-encapsulation Sensory Perception™ Technology.”
It seems that Sensory Perception™ Technology is a micro-encapsulation delivery system for textiles that allows fragrances or active ingredients of almost any kind to be chemically trapped inside and then released from clothing, bedding, towels or other textiles over an extended period of time. Conventional textile and fragrance manufacturers and advertising agencies are ecstatic with the whole new area of textile marketing and sales angles. They are promoting the benefits of Sensory Perception™ Technology to give your clothing fragrance, to provide aromatherapy while you sleep when added to your sheets and blankets, and to deliver health and well-being benefits such as moisturizing, anti-cellulite, and insect repellent while you wear their clothing.
These artificial fragrances and active ingredients are not just mixed in with the other easy care finishes when the garment is made. This new garment technology chemically binds these little microscopic capsules of chemicals with the textile fibers. The capsules of chemicals ‘break’ through normal wear or use and release their microscopic payloads. Promoters proclaim that “textiles treated with Sensory Perception™ Technology retain their benefits over a long period of time and through multiple washes.”
Hmmm. “Benefits” might be largely in the eyes of the conventional textile manufacturers who utilize this new technology and the ad agencies designing mega advertising campaigns. People with chemical sensitivities might not be delighted with the prospects of little chemical bombs stealthily exploding capsules of chemicals in their clothing or bedding. And people, in general, might not be enthralled with absorbing yet more unknown chemicals through their skin, whether the chemicals might be beneficial or not. Also unknown are the chemicals and processes used to create these micro-capsules locked into the fabrics. Do they have any toxic impact in themselves to the wearer? And what is the ecological impact of the manufacturing processes for creating and impregnating the textiles?
"IFF (International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.) is pleased that our Sensory Perception™ Technology has been recognized within the industry by this award," said IFF's Chief Operating Officer Jim Dunsdon. "This technology addresses the growing consumer desire to incorporate fragrance in all aspects of everyday life. Imagine being able to open your curtains on a cold winter morning and breathe in the scent of a spring day? Or being greeted with a fresh burst of comforting fragrance when you put on your favorite sweater? Our Sensory Perception™ Technology makes this possible."
Hmmm. Whatever happened to Be Here Now? Being aware of and enjoying each moment for its intrinsic value and beauty? Appreciating the subtle, pleasant smell of a pure organic wool sweater that hasn’t been stripped and robbed of its natural qualities by the science of harsh chemicals?
The garment industry has come a long way from a few strategically placed fig leaves. We have entered an intensely high tech textile era. Worm genes are being spliced into genetically modified cotton DNA, new fibers are being created out of chemically-induced wood pulp sludge, toxic chemical garment finishes are whipping up store loads of easy-care garments, and now we are entering another brave new world where we don’t even have to be concerned about how to naturally care for our bodies. We’ll just let our clothing, bedding, carpets, drapes, bath towels, and anything covered in textiles stealthily apply chemicals and “active ingredients” as we come into contact with them. And these chemical micro-capsules can’t be washed out.
The only protection for consumers is to be informed and be aware.