Are you organically educated? Read the following to find out!
What is organic cotton?
Organic cotton in a nutshell is cotton grown without pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers or any other chemicals. Organic cotton is grown without chemical agents (fields must be free of synthetic chemicals for three years before they are certified), and so minimizes damage to soil, water and air.
Traditional Cotton is one of the most intensively sprayed field crops in the world!
Just 2.4% of the world's arable land is planted with cotton yet it accounts for 24% of the world's insecticide market and 11% of global pesticides sales. That adds up to 1/3 of a pound of chemicals to produce enough cotton for a t-shirt, and 3/4 of a pound for a pair of jeans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that more than 53 million pounds of pesticides and 1.6 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizers were applied to cotton fields in 1996.
The pesticides not only irritate your baby's skin, but many are also known carcinogens.
In California, five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton are cancer-causing chemicals (cyanazine, dicofol, naled, propargite and trifluralin).
The World Health Organization estimates that at least three million people are poisoned by pesticides every year and 20-40,000 more are killed.
Over 1 million Americans will learn they have some form of cancer and 10,400 people in the U.S. die each year from cancer related to pesticides.
What does "Certified Organic" mean?
"Certified Organic" means the item has been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, detailed record keeping, and periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set.
Choose organic crib sheets!
According to Harvey Karp, MD, author of "The Happiest Toddler On The Block", the number-two cause of eczema rashes for babies (behind food allergies) is irritation caused by detergents and chemical treatments on crib sheets and other bedding.
Chemicals found in Conventional Baby Clothing and Bedding
- Because of its appeal to a variety of insects, conventional cotton gets treated with pesticides more than any other crop except coffee.
The pesticides used, cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite and trifluralin, are all known to cause cancer, and have been classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as the most dangerous pesticides.
- In order to give baby clothing a "finish" it is often treated with flame and stain retardants, heavy metals and other toxic chemicals.
According to Organic Baby author Kim Rider, these chemicals can not only irritate your baby's eyes, nose and throat, but they have been linked to depression, leukemia and cancer.
- Formaldehyde is another common fabric finish. It should also be avoided, because it is a neurotoxin and carcinogen.
- Beware of synthetic fabrics, such as fleece which are derived from petrochemicals that off-gas throughout the life of the clothing. Benzene, Ammonia, Ethylene glycol are all common in fabric finishes of fleece, polyester and polyester blends.
Watch out for that crisp white cotton!
Unfortunately, even though we all love that crisp clean look, most likely it arrived at that due to toxic bleach! Half the companies in the U.S. use hydrogen peroxide, but half still use highly toxic chlorine. Companies outside the U.S. and Europe, where most garments are produced, are more likely to use chlorine.