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Milk: The Fabric of Our Lives?

Could this be in your sweater?

Could this be in your sweater?

Speaking of hidden milk ingredients, here’s one place you probably never thought to look: your clothes.

Yes, milk is used to make clothing. The practice started during World War II, when wool was in short supply, as the resulting fabric is said to feel like cashmere. Today, milk fibers have found new cachet because they’re “green,” free from petroleum-derived components. Some manufacturers even make it a point to use organic milk.

While one of the purported “benefits” of wearing milk-derived clothing is that the proteins leave your skin soft, some garment makers go so far as to claim that wearing their wares can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause!

Aside from the obvious—that anyone who wouldn’t wear fur, leather, wool, down, or silk probably wouldn’t choose to wear milk, either—as with any milk product, there’s the risk of serious reactions for people with milk allergies, particularly if the fibers get wet or are inhaled (?). And, as with food, clothing manufacturers are expected to list the derivation of their fibers. So next time you go clothes shopping and think you’re being a good vegan by avoiding wool and the other usual suspects, be sure to check your labels, just in case.

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