There has been a lot of hype about the terms organic, green, eco-friendly and the like. And while our food and our cars have changed, clothing has not yet made great strides in pursuing the organic label. This is unfortunate as the benefits of organic clothing are especially important with regards to health. One area that has grown significantly is in baby clothing.
The need for clothing certified organic fabrics have come from the industrialization of textiles both in growing the base plants, as well as in production. Cotton is a plant which has been used for the past 50 years. It has become hybridized to such a degree that heavy pesticide and fertilizer use is necessary to sustain yields. The other issue is in finishing. Dyes and fabric coatings use ingredients that are also potentially toxic, such as chlorine's, formaldehyde, sulfurs, and heavy metals.
The result is a material that is laden with chemicals and potential toxins. And since the material most often comes in direct contact with skin, the potential for allergic reaction and irritation is great. Fumes and off-gases are also a problem. This extends to alternative synthetic-like cloth which emits low amounts of gas throughout its life.
For baby and children's clothes, the safety of material is even more important for a number of reasons. First, infants and children are more susceptible to breathable toxins as they inhale more air per body weight than adults. They also have more skin area relative to weight, so absorption of chemicals is more acute. This is a serious issue given that infant and children's immune systems are still developing.
Cotton is one of the textiles to have widespread distribution as an organic material. Organic cotton can be found in many infant, children, and adult clothing and it is more prevalent at retail. Organic cotton is grown in pesticide-free fields and it has to be finished according to USDA National Organic Program guidelines. This is one of the most cost effective baby clothing materials, as organic cotton fabric can be manufactured using standard machinery.
Hemp is another textile that has long been aligned with the ecological and organic movement. Hemp baby clothing has become very popular as it is very strong and it has anti-bacterial as well as anti-fungal properties. Unfortunately, many people assume anything made from hemp is organic. However, in some cases while the base textile is organic (hemp is naturally pest resistant so needs no pesticides) the finishing chemicals used to soften the material are often chemically treated. Be sure when purchasing hemp baby clothing that there is an organic certification label affixed.
Another textile aligned with the green movement and organic is bamboo. Bamboo is pest resistant and it grows quickly so it is sustainable, but like hemp, the textile should not be assumed to be organic. In organic bamboo cloth production, bamboo is crushed; the fibers are combed out and spun into yarn, then woven into a linen material. In the other process, harsh chemicals are used to breakdown the fibers, which leaves chemical residues that can be harmful. Like hemp, people don't automatically assume bamboo clothing as organic without an official label or indicator of such.
So for organic baby clothing, cotton, and hemp are the best choices. It is still important that a parent should look for 100% organic certification. Just because the base plant for textile is grown organically, the chemical finishes used to produce cloth may be just as toxic.
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Bamboo Baby provide organic baby clothing such as baby pyjamas with feet and much more.
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