When we had our first baby (our first of three in four years), we were so excited but realized quickly how little we knew about babies, so we researched and researched and researched.
What we found was alarming, there were high levels of toxicity in a lot of the items – clothes, blankets, baby wipes – that we give to our children. Our website will help parents to determine what organic choices they should be making, everything from organic cotton baby products to organic baby swaddle blankets.
Just try to find baby bedding that is 100% cotton and organic, it is so hard to find, but baby bedding is something your little one will be in every day so it’s crucial to buy the healthiest and most natural option.
The Organic Consumer Association posted a fascinating article that lists so many warning signs when it comes to the chemicals that lurk in our clothing. For example:
The concerns regarding health stem from the fact that though cotton uses only 2.4% of the world’s agricultural acreage, its cultivation involves 25% of the world’s pesticide use, more than any other crop. Most of these are insecticides, but fungicide is another fraction of the total. Also, consider that it takes about one-third of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers to grow enough conventional cotton for just one T-shirt.
In many cases, these poisonous chemicals are applied by spraying from the air, which means they can be carried and spread by the wind and breathed by people living nearby. It probably is no coincidence that Texans near Lubbock have a high cancer rate, while Lubbock happens to be the world’s largest area of cotton cultivation.
The chemicals used in cotton production don’t end with cultivation. As an aid in harvesting, herbicides are used to defoliate the plants, making picking easier. Producing a textile from the plants involves more chemicals in the process of bleaching, sizing, dying, straightening, shrink reduction, stain and odor resistance, fireproofing, mothproofing, and static- and wrinkle-reduction. Some of these chemicals are applied with heat, thus bonding them to the cotton fibers.
Several washings are done throughout the process, but some of the softeners and detergents leave a residue that will not totally be removed from the final product. Chemicals often used for finishing include formaldehyde, caustic soda, sulfuric acid, bromines, urea resins, sulfonamides, halogens, and bromines. Some imported clothes are now impregnated with long-lasting disinfectants which are very hard to remove, and whose smell gives them away.
These and the other chemical residues affect people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Also, people have developed allergic reactions, such as hives, to formaldehyde through skin contact with solutions on durable-press clothing containing formaldehyde. Allergic Contact Dermatitis develops after repeated allergen exposure to dyes and other chemicals and metals. According to a British allergy website, small amounts of perspiration can separate out allergens through several layers of clothing, and leather shoe dyes can leach through socks.
According to the health website Mercola,
“Formaldehyde resins are used in clothing to cut down on wrinkling and mildew. Not only is formaldehyde a known carcinogen, but the resins have been linked to eczema and may cause your skin to become flaky or erupt in a rash.”
Goop posted a shocking chart (found below) that outlines a few of the chemicals that can be found in clothing and blankets.
|CHEMICAL||USED FOR||FOUND IN||CONCERNS|
|GLYPHOSATE||Herbicide in cotton growing||Cotton textiles||Carcinogenic; potentially
linked to autism
|CHLORINE BLEACH||Whitening and stain removal||Natural fiber/cotton
processing (like denim)
|Asthma and respiratory
|FORMALDEHYDE||Mainly used for
wrinkle-free; also shrinkage;
carrier for dyes/prints
|Natural fabrics like
cotton, or anything
that’s been dyed
|VOCS||Solvents used in all parts
of textile supply chain,
particularly for printing
(natural and synthetic)
|Off-gassing, which is a huge
issue for workers. VOCs
cause developmental and
damage, skin/eye irritation,
and liver and respiratory
problems. Some VOCs are
|PFCS||Creating durable water
resistance; as stain repellant/
(natural and synthetic,
especially uniforms and
bio-accumulative (builds up
persistent, and toxic in the
|Used to stop clothes from
|Required on children’s
|AMMONIA||Provides shrink resistance||Natural fabrics||Absorbed into lungs;
can burn eye, nose, throat
|For dyeing; chromium VI is
used in leather tanning and
antimony is used to make
(natural and synthetic)
|Highly toxic; can cause
damage blood cells, kidney, liver;
|Used in printing||Printing inks/processes||Endocrine disruptors|