Is Neoprene Toxic? - Turtl Project

Is Neoprene Toxic?



Are you ready to hit the beach? If you're like me, you love water sports, but have you ever thought about the environmental impact of your gear? The truth is, traditional neoprene wetsuits are not only potentially toxic but also harmful to the environment. Petroleum-based neoprene starts its life cycle at the bottom of the ocean where deep sea drills feverishly dig for oil. Eventually it ends up in landfills, slowly leaking dangerous chemicals into the ecosystem or directly into wildlife.

Let's dive deeper into the world of wetsuits! In this article, we'll explore the question, "Is neoprene toxic?" and discuss some of the environmentally friendly options available for water sports enthusiasts.


Neoprene dripping petroleum



Key Idea


Neoprene has long been a popular material in water sports apparel, used in everything from wetsuits to impact vests. However, in recent years, concerns have arisen about the potential toxicity of neoprene and its impact on the environment. As more people become aware of the potential harm caused by conventional water sports apparel, there has been a growing interest in finding eco-friendly alternatives. 


Is Neoprene Toxic?


Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber made primarily from the following chemical compounds:

  • Polychloroprene: a volatile organic compound (VOC) that can be harmful to both humans and the environment.
  • Carbon black: a chemical that's used to give neoprene its black color, which can also be a health hazard if inhaled in large quantities.
  • Lead: a heavy metal that's sometimes used in the production of neoprene, which can be toxic if ingested or inhaled.

During the manufacturing process various chemicals are used, including chlorine and petroleum-based compounds. If not disposed of responsibly, these chemicals may also be harmful to human's and the environment.

Another concern is that neoprene may leak chemicals into the water, particularly when the material is exposed to heat or sunlight. This can be harmful to marine life and ecosystems. This gets really bad when wetsuits pile up in landfills and are constantly exposed to direct sunlight, every hour of everyday. Additionally, many people have reported experiencing skin irritation and allergic reactions after wearing neoprene products for extended periods.

While there is ongoing debate over the toxicity of neoprene, many people are looking for alternative materials that are more environmentally friendly and safer for human health. In the following sections, we'll explore some of these alternatives and their benefits.


Alternatives to Neoprene


As concerns over the environmental impact of neoprene grow, the water sports apparel industry is turning to more sustainable options. One such option is Monolith Rubber, a more eco-friendly solution that is made from limestone and does not contain harmful chloroprene chemicals.


Petroleum free wetsuit


At Turtl Project, we take sustainability seriously, which is why we have developed an alternative to neoprene that is both functional and environmentally friendly. Our recycled wetsuits and impact vests are made from Monolith Rubber a limestone-based petroleum free alternative. By downcycling old wetsuits, we are able to create a product that is not only better for the environment, but also helps to reduce waste.

We also offer a recycled wallet made from the scraps of old wetsuits that were not useful to the production process of our wetsuits. This allows us to reduce the products impact even further!


Wallet made of recycled wetsuit


By choosing environmentally friendly wetsuits and other water sports apparel, you can enjoy your favorite activities while also helping to protect the ocean.


Choosing the Right Wetsuit


When it comes to choosing the right wetsuit, there are a few important factors to consider. The first is the water temperature. Wetsuits come in different thicknesses to accommodate different water temperatures, so be sure to choose one that will keep you warm enough for the activity you'll be doing. 


Wetsuit sizing chart showing how warmer temperature water it is encouraged to where a 2mm wetsuit and in warmer water a 5 mm wetsuit.


Regardless if you are a diver, surfer, kiter, paddler, or any other form of ocean enjoyer you are probably well aware of how crucial it is to find that perfect fit. A wetsuit that is too loose will not keep you warm enough, while one that is too tight can be uncomfortable and restrict movement. When trying on a wetsuit, it should fit snugly but not be too tight. You should be able to move your arms and legs freely without feeling constricted. There should be no gaps between your body and the suit, but it should not be so tight that it is difficult to put on or take off.



When you choose the right wetsuit, you'll be more comfortable and safer in the water, allowing you to enjoy your water activities to the fullest for longer.




The toxicity of neoprene and its potential impact on the environment are important concerns to consider when choosing water sports apparel. By choosing an eco-friendly wetsuit, you can not only protect yourself but also the environment. So next time you hit the waves, consider an eco-friendly option, and help protect the oceans you love.




Is neoprene cancerous?

  • There is no evidence to suggest that neoprene causes cancer in humans.


Is wearing neoprene safe?

  • Neoprene is generally safe to wear, but some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions.


Is the smell of neoprene toxic? 

  • The smell of neoprene is caused by the chemicals used in its production, which can be toxic in large quantities. However, the smell itself is not necessarily toxic.


What is the environmental mental impact of neoprene?

  • Neoprene is made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. Its production and disposal can also have negative environmental impacts.


What chemicals are in neoprene?

  • Neoprene is made of synthetic rubber, sometimes called polychloroprene, which is produced using a variety of chemicals. Some of these chemicals can be harmful to human health and the environment.


Why do people wear neoprene?

  • Neoprene, also known as polychloroprene, is one of the first synthetic rubber products ever made. It is a popular material for wetsuits because it provides good cheap insulation and is resistant to water, oils and solvents. Both the words "polychloroprene" and "neoprene" refer to the same class of synthetic rubbers made when chloroprene is polymerized.


Is neoprene plastic or rubber?

  • Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber made by chemically treating petroleum along with other chemicals. Much like plastic, neoprene is also derived from petroleum, however they are not substitutes for each other, as they require different production processes and auxiliary chemicals.


Is neoprene natural or synthetic?

  • Neoprene, sometimes known as polymer polychloroprene, is a foamed synthetic rubber compound. Raw sheets are made by combining carbon, neoprene chips, and other chemical components. They become "foamed rubber buns," which are then sliced to thickness and laminated, after being subjected to high pressure and heat. 


How do you get the chemical smell out of neoprene?

  • The chemical smell of neoprene can be reduced by washing it with mild soap and water and allowing it to air out. Making sure your wetsuit is dry before storage and not kept in damp dark places is the best way to prevent smell producing bacteria from growing. 


Does the small of neoprene go away?

  • The smell of neoprene will fade over time, but it may never completely disappear especially if it is not stored and cleaned properly.


How do I stop my neoprene from smelling?

  • You can reduce the smell of neoprene by washing it gently and storing it in a well-ventilated area. A household trick is to spray it with mouthwash using a spray bottle. Avoid storing it in damp and dark areas that could encourage the growth of bacteria. Regular use will also reduce the smell. And this goes without saying but, the less you pee in your wetsuit the fresher it will smell!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.