Peace & Love
When I was growing up wearing 100% organic cotton was considered what the hippies wore. After all, I grew up in Southern California in the 70's. And I did have neighbors who were hippies. They wore 100% organic cotton, silk, or wool. They were also vegans and juiced before it was popular. I loved going to their house for fresh juices, especially the watermelon! Yum! One of the things I remember most was their colorful tie dye clothing. And since I loved rainbows, I always asked my mom to buy me some of the 100% organic cotton clothing. She finally did and I remember loving the way it felt on my skin and I loved the bright colors. But 100% organic cotton has come a long way since I was a kid.
There are lots of "Green" organic fiber options available now, for example, organic cotton, hemp, wool, alpaca, tencel and silk. The reason these are considered "Green" is because they're not sprayed with harmful pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. But today we'll just focus on organic cotton.
The top two reasons parents choose to go "green" when it comes to baby's clothing and toys.
- For the health of their baby.
- To support environmental changes.
For the Health of their baby. These parents feel that it's important to choose organic and natural products that come into direct contact with their baby skin. After all, clothing is next to their skin all night and day. The fact is, much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. Parents need to remember that babies put everything in their mouths to chew and suck therefore swallowing. So whatever is in and on the material goes into their system.
The good news is that the skin acts a barrier and is able to metabolize chemicals that pass through the outer its layer. However, that doesn’t mean that all chemicals are neutralized and some will undoubtedly make it into yours and your baby's bloodstream.
Premature and low-birth-weight babies have a poorly developed stratum corneum (the very outer layer of skin), but they develop a competent barrier within 4 weeks after birth (Kalia et al., 1996). Some studies show as we age this barrier becomes better at filtering. But we just don't know 100% how age comes into play when it comes to absorption rates. And that's why I like to play it safe when it comes to babies and children because pound for pound they are most vulnerable to environmental toxins. Plus like I said before...babies put everything in their mouths to chew or suck on.
During the process of converting raw cotton into clothing, chemicals are added to the product.
These include petroleum scours, softeners, brighteners, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia and formaldehyde, just to name a few. To make matters worse, 7 of the top 15 pesticides used on conventionally grown cotton crops in the United States have been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as potential or known carcinogens. Over a third of a pound of pesticides are used to produce the average cotton t-shirt. I know what you're thinking, I'll just wash it...unfortunately repeated washing doesn't guarantee that these chemicals will go away.
I can hear you thinking, " Thats fine, I'll just stick to synthetic fibers." Well, synthetic fibers have issues too. Believe me, I love my fleece during the winter and I'm so bummed to learn that synthetic fibers like fleece, are derived from petrochemicals, which are chemicals derived directly or indirectly from petroleum or natural gas. These fibers let off gas throughout the lifetime of the clothing. Writing this blog really opened my eyes as to why it's better to by "organic/green" products especially for your little one.
Let's talk about organic cotton. I found this great list of the Top 10 reasons to buy organic cotton from Best Baby Organics and want to share it with you.
Top 10 reasons to buy Organic Cotton Clothing, Bedding, and Toys for your Baby
1. About 25% of the world's insecticides and 10% of the pesticides are used in conventional cotton.
Organic cotton instead has low environmental impact by replenishing and maintaining soil fertility, reducing the use of toxic agents, and building biologically diverse agriculture. For more facts and details on this, visit the Organic Trade Association.
2. Certified Organic Cotton uses only low-impact dyes, which contain no heavy metals and use less water in the dyeing process.
3. Chemicals used in Conventional Cotton Crops contaminate groundwater systems. Growing Organic Cotton eliminates this type of contamination, therefore protecting and improving the quality of our water.
4. Organic Cotton field workers are NOT exposed to toxic chemicals that endanger their health. (or the health of their children)
5. Organic Cotton Clothing is often associated with FAIR LABOR and/or FAIR TRADE practices. This ensures that all workers are paid a fair wage for their labor. No sweatshop clothing for our babies!
6. Clothing made from Organic Cotton is softer and free of Formaldehyde, which is a chemical commonly used in the garment manufacturing industry.
7. Babies are more vulnerable to toxic agents that come in contact with their skin and respiratory system. Therefore Organic Cotton Clothing is gentler on the skin and healthier for baby.
8. No more worrying when babies play with organic cotton toys or chew on organic cotton teethers. They are not toxic!
9. Supporting the Organic Cotton Industry helps to protect our children's future by reducing the levels of pollution on our planet.
10. The peace of mind and good feeling of knowing that your baby is getting the best of the best and knowing that you are making the right choices to protect our environment.
And I would like to add the 70% of all cotton seeds used for crops are genetically modified and organic are not.
Where can you buy organic products?
Organic cotton crib mattress & Changing Table Pads
Organic Baby Stores - blankets, clothing, toys etc
Here is a good resource to check out - HealthyStuff.org. Their mission is to research toxic chemicals found in everyday products. This site is based on research conducted by environmental health organizations and other researchers around the country. They have a list of toys.
Personal Care Truth, 2011 – The Impermeable Facts of Skin Penetration and Absorption http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/01/the-impermeable-facts-of-skin-penetration-and-absorption/
WHO (World Health Organization), 2006. Dermal Absorption.http://www.who.int/ipcs/features/2006/ehc235/en/