Lauren Goode: I have a hard time believing you really like this shirt that I’m wearing.
Michael Calore: Well, it’s written in the script.
Lauren Goode: I know.
Michael Calore: But I really actually do like it. Where did you get it? Where is it from?
Lauren Goode: Thank you. This is one of my fancier shirts. I got it at Bloomingdale’s, and I got it in a panic the day—humblebrag—before I was going on The Today Show because I felt that I needed to wear something that had a little pizazz to it.
Michael Calore: All right, so you selected it quickly.
Lauren Goode: Yes.
Michael Calore: Did you research it before you bought it to find out if it has any toxic chemicals in it?
Lauren Goode: No. I mean, if research means glancing at the price tag and saying, “OK, I think I can afford this,” that’s the research that I did.
Michael Calore: I see.
Lauren Goode: No, I didn’t. I didn’t research the toxic chemicals. Are you telling me this is a toxic shirt?
Michael Calore: Unfortunately, we can assume that the shirt probably has some toxic chemicals in it.
Lauren Goode: Sounds terrible. Tell me more.
Michael Calore: Well, why don’t we bring on our guest to tell us more?
Lauren Goode: Sounds good.
[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]
Michael Calore: Yeah. Hi, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I am Michael Calore. I’m a senior editor at WIRED.
Lauren Goode: And I’m Lauren Goode. I’m a senior writer at WIRED.
Michael Calore: We’re also joined today by the journalist and author Alden Wicker. Hello, Alden.
Alden Wicker: Hello. Thank you for having me.
Michael Calore: Of course. Welcome to the show. Your first time through.
Alden Wicker: Yeah. And I’m very excited to be here.
Michael Calore: We’re excited to have you. Today, we are talking about the toxic chemicals in our clothes. Alden has written a new book on the topic, called To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion Is Making Us Sick.
Lauren Goode: Such a good title. To Dye is D-Y-E, by the way.
Michael Calore: D-Y-E.
Lauren Goode: Yes.
Michael Calore: Yes.
Alden Wicker: I wish I could take credit. I didn’t come up with it, unfortunately.
Lauren Goode: Well, whoever did, I hope they’re getting a good percentage.
Michael Calore: For sure.
Alden Wicker: They are, trust me.
Michael Calore: This is a topic that Alden has covered before for WIRED, as well as outlets like The New York Times, Vogue, and her own publication, Ecocult. But To Dye For is her first long-form dive into the topic. She interviewed dozens of researchers, doctors, regulators, fashion industry workers, and regular consumers like you and me to better understand the effect that these chemicals, dyes, and treatments have on our health. So Alden, I want to start by asking you to identify some of these common dyes and treatments that you talk about in your book. What sorts of toxic chemicals are companies adding to our clothes?