With today's focus on eco-friendly and green products, the term organic seems to be cropping up everywhere – on our food, drink, cars, and products of every kind. In some cases, the organic label may be of dubious value. In the case of baby clothes, there seems to be a real need to examine the use of organic fabric for health and well-being.
Up until the latter half of the 20th century, cotton-growing was primarily done using sustainable and natural farming techniques, without too much dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. During the post-World War II economic boom, farming went in a new direction to boost yields. Farmers turned to chemical treatments to supplement poor and over-farmed lands and saturated crops with newly available and cheap chemical pesticides.
Although the chemicals used in pesticides and fertilizers are much safer today than those earlier versions, exposure to these products has been linked to serious long-term health problems. Organic in today's world means a return to the non-chemically enhanced farm techniques practiced for centuries. Techniques like crop rotation and cultivation enriched soil can help control pests. These techniques are also better for the environment where it keeps farm workers safer.
To be certified organic, the field producing the plant must be free of pesticides for at least three years and it must be processed by organic standards, too. In the US, the USDA regulates what can be labeled as organic through the National Organic Program. This means that not only does the product need to be grown organically, but the fabric itself cannot be treated with chemical finishes or dyed with colours made with heavy metals or other potentially toxic substances.
Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, organic baby clothing is much safer for a baby's health. Newborn skin is extremely sensitive and most fabric is treated with chemicals that are not completely removed even by thorough washing. In addition to skin irritation, residue from treated fabric can stay on the skin. Synthetic fabrics and treated natural fibers also give off low levels of the chemicals because they are treated throughout their life.
Given these potential hazards, a wide range of organic cotton and hemp-based baby clothing lines are becoming available. Even a few years ago, certain products were difficult to find. But as more research on dangers becomes available, the demand is growing. The manufacturing process for organic baby products is also evolving. Many companies are marrying modern manufacturing techniques to safe and sustainable living ideals. This has made the cost of organic clothing much more reasonable.
While one can find organic baby clothes at specialty stores, the widest selection is available online. A quick web search will lead you to a number of online retailers offering 100% certified organic clothing. There are myriads of styles and standard sizes to choose from where more companies are being launched every day.
Given the benefits of organic fabrics, it makes sense to be more aware of the fabrics used in baby clothing and bedding. Organic cotton and hemp clothing are great healthy alternatives to the synthetic fabrics that may compromise health and well-being.
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