Category Archives: Organic Cotton

Organic Cotton: The Benefits

All of the cotton garments in our store are made from organic cotton.  We do this because we know how important it is, and we want to share that with you.

Did you know….

  • Conventional cotton production uses aldicarb, parathion, & melthamidopho– three of the most dangerous chemicals known to human health.
  • Chemical additives such as synthetic resin, petroleum scours, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia, formaldehyde are used when producing non-organic cotton garments.

With so much talk about organic these days, it’s important to know the facts.  Organic is simply a healthier choice.   For all of us.  But why, exactly?  And what does organic really mean?  Various definitions exist for the term “organic,” but as we are discussing the cotton industry, we can refer to Meriam-Webster‘s definition, “of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.”  Cotton grows from a seed, so just as any crop, it may be grown organically or conventionally.

The truth is, there are so many benefits to organic cotton that it can even be a bit overwhelming.  Supporting the organic cotton industry- wearing it, buying it, even just talking about it to your friends- is really good for all of us.  It’s particularly fabulous when you are caring for your baby and start making all sorts of decisions for them, from the food they eat to the fabric that touches their skin.  Here are a few interesting facts.

It’s good for the earth. Organic cotton production, unlike its “dirty” conventional counterpart, utilizes no synthetic agricultural fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.  This reduces the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air, water, and soil.  Organic cotton is grown with crop rotation as opposed to monoculture, and natural fertilizing methods are employed, such as manure, compost, beneficial insects, and mixed cultivation.  These methods increase soil fertility and keep our drinking water clean.   The earth appreciates all of this very much.

It’s good for us. The earth isn’t the only one affected by damaging chemicals released through the conventional production of cotton.  When you mix damaging chemical with the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil in which our food grows, you can imagine the results.   And we’re just talking about the cultivation of the cotton.  What about the rest of the process?  Please, read on.

After the cotton is harvested (a process which, in conventional production, is usually done either by child labor or chemical leaf stripping agents), its fibers must be spun into fabric.  In the non-organic process, a variety of synthetic additives such as spinning oils and sizing agents are used, followed by a multitude of other chemical additives- synthetic resin, petroleum scours, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia, formaldehyde- most of which are non-felting, non-creasing, soil-repellant, or flame retardants.    Do we really need all those chemicals added to our clothing to “protect” us from dirt and fire?

The madness doesn’t end there.  Often, additional synthetic chemical fibers are mixed with the natural cotton fibers and further processed before the final article of clothing is sewn.  All of these additives negatively affect the natural characteristics of cotton.  Even more chemicals are later added to protect the garments from fungi and pests.

All right, all right- enough said.  Non-organic cotton is… less than desirable, to say the least.  What about organic cotton?

Erase that frightening mental image of conventional cotton production and imagine this: a little cotton seed (not a genetically modified one, mind you) is planted and grown with a lot of love and a few natural fertilizers like manure and compost.  That seeds becomes a thriving plant which forms a mutually respectful relationship with the soil in which it grows.   It is then hand-picked and its fibers are spun into yarn which is then knit or woven into soft fabric; the only additives, if any, are environmentally friendly ones such as starch or paraffin.   That lovely, natural, non-chemically bleached fabric is sewn into a beautiful garment that ends up in your hands- made with love.

 

It’s especially good for our babies. Do you really want your baby wearing cotton grown with aldicarb, parathion, and melthamidopho-  three of the most dangerous insecticides to human health-  among a plethora of other unpronounceable chemical names?   After learning more about all of the nasty chemicals involved with the production of non-organic cotton, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that there is no chemical residue left on the final product that touches your baby’s soft, sensitive skin.  I certainly want to limit my baby’s exposure to residue from chemicals I can hardly pronounce.

Just a few more reasons to go organic.