Why organic cotton?
Did you know that cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed and treated crops grown around the world? The Environmental Protection Agency considers 7 of the 15 pesticides used on conventional cotton as possible or known carcinogenic (cancer causing) agents.
When shopping for children’s clothing, you’ll find that most children’s clothing is made out of cotton. What the label won’t tell you is that unless that cotton is organic, it has often been treated with harmful chemicals that can’t always be washed away and, thus, could be absorbed by your baby’s skin.
While the cotton industry uses pesticides and insecticides in its cotton production—organic cotton is about growing cotton crops without using fertilizers, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals. With this kind of farming method, cotton trees are not sprayed or treated with any chemical. They only rely on approved organic farming methods. A field must be pesticide-free for at least three years to be certified organic, and the cotton must be processed according to international organic standards.
Children’s clothing made from synthetic fibers that are manufactured with petrochemicals, acrylic (polycrylonitriles), PVC, and esters may be linked to health problems including cancer, immune system damage, behavioral problems, and hormone disruption. Those chemicals plus the ones used to clean, process and dye cotton for use in garments come in direct contact with your skin – many of them posing health risks such as reproductive disorders, birth defects and weakened immune systems.There are no chemical retentions from organic cotton clothing; thus, people with allergies or with specific chemical sensitivity will greatly benefit from using organic cotton in clothing fabric. It feels better on your skin too even if you are not suffering from allergies or chemical sensitivities.
Choosing clothing made of sustainable fibers with non-toxic dyes are the safest and will keep harmful chemicals and toxins away from your baby’s skin. Look for clothing that is made out of organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, wool, cashmere, or silk and check the label for no chemical finishes, non-toxic dyes and inks, and fair labor practices. You can also check the label for The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) organic label. GOTS is the world’s leading textile processing standard for organic fibers and requires that the clothing is 95 percent organic and has no toxic dyes or finishes. Look for the GOTS certification to make sure the clothing is organic and non-toxic from field to finish. This certification is the most stringent certification on clothing. No flame retardants are allowed, no AZO dyes using heavy metals, no formaldehyde, no pesticides, no phthalates , no PVC, no PFCs, no NPEs, no chlorine bleach to list a few. There is also a social aspect to it as well, employees must have fair working conditions and be paid a fair wage. There can be no animal cruelty. It really is the best certification out there.
Some of the benefits of organic cotton are:
- Manual farming and organic practices have a lower carbon footprint as the entire process consumes less fuel and energy and emits fewer greenhouse gases.
- Not from genetically modified cottonseed.
- Grown with natural rather than synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, no chemical defoliants used.
- Eco-friendly processing that does not compromise workers' health and helps reduce water and electric use and toxic runoff, e.g. non-chlorine bleach, silicon-free softeners and low impact, azo-free dyes.
- Strict testing ensures the absence of contaminants like nickel, lead, formaldehyde, amines, pesticides and heavy metals.
- People with allergies and chemical sensitivity especially benefit from organic cotton clothing, as conventional cotton may retain harmful toxic residues. Even if you don't have sensitive skin, organic cotton will just feel better against your skin.