Saturday, October 14, 2006
Umbra on synthetic fabrics and kids
Posted by Grist at 11:37 AM on 11 Oct 2006
Eco-conscious parents these days are feeding their kids organic foods, cleaning their homes with non-toxic products, and steering clear of toys with PVC and other nasties. But, one mom asks, should they also be concerned about dressing their bundles of joy in clothes made from synthetic fabrics? Umbra Fisk snaps into action with some sage advice.
new in Ask Umbra: Clothes Encounters
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Not too Clothes for ComfortDear Umbra,
You are generally close in your advice, but in your Clothes Encounters blurb you missed.
"Environmentally speaking," truly natural and organic clothing is nothing like conventional, synthetic chemical clothing in terms of the toxicity of turning raw materials into wearable clothing. Just ask any one who lives down river from a traditional clothing manufacturer.
Organic clothing manufacturers do not use toxic chemicals or toxic dyes in the preparation, manufacturing and finish processing of their garments. Conventional manufacturers do ... plenty!
Conventionally grown cotton is one of the largest consumers of pesticides worldwide and a major contributor to environmental damage. GMO cottons are a further complicating and destructive factor.
In contrast, organic, naturally grown cotton sustains and revitalizes the soil.
Chemical sensitivities are a growing health problem in the US and worldwide as our environment becomes more and more flooded with toxic substances. Your skin is very absorbent and toxins from chemically manufactured clothing will enter your body through your skin. Toxic chemicals used during the finishing processing in manufacturing - especially the easy care finishes such as wrinkle free and stain resistent - are a major source of toxins absorbed by the skin.
Your suggestion to buy natural fibers such as wool, hemp and cotton is worthless if the fabrics from these fibers are then conventionally manufactured to produce conventional chemical clothing.
In our OrganicClothing.blogs.com, we have researched and written extensively about all aspects of organic clothing from many perspectives: environmental, health, social, economic, fashion.
Clothing is an especially sensitive topic for us.
So, should you be scared for your nylon- and polyester-clad children. Probably, yes! Maybe not today but for their tomorrows. Toxins accumulate in the body and they can come from a huge variety of sources. And what comes into closer and more prolonged contact with our skin than our clothes?
Michael Lackman Organic Scribbler