Are you starting to wonder what is so great about organic clothing? Why all your mommy pals are raving about only buying organic? Are you questioning what is wrong with the other, non-organic clothing in your child’s closet? While organic definitely plays a role in saving our planet from nasty pesticides, it also has a major impact on how clothing is treated in the processes of being made, from farm to factory to purchase. The benefits of organic cotton are endless, but what’s equally as important is how destructive conventional clothing is to all of us. Click here to view a side-by-side comparison of organic cotton to conventional cotton and to learn more about the importance of choosing organic fabrics.

Do you remember your mom telling you that you should wash your new clothes before you wore them? It must be true that mothers always know best. The chemicals that we explain below are just a few of the harmful additives that are in your clothing, many that are known carcinogens to the EPA. Please note, all of the chemicals listed below will not be found on the tags of clothing. Only organically certified clothing is ensured to leave out anything considered unhealthy for the body.

Formaldehyde

Yes, formaldehyde. A known carcinogen (unregulated in the USA even though the USA has declared it as toxic) is used to make clothing resist wrinkles and prevent shrinking. One of the most common issues from wearing clothing that contains formaldehyde is contact dermatitis, also known as eczema. This can happen to adults AND children of any age. From eczema, the skin develops an inflamed rash, and constant scratching can even tear the skin or possibly break-out in blisters, which is especially painful and irritating on the precious little ones. If your children are exposed to formaldehyde for a long period of time, it’s very likely they could develop asthma or other similar conditions. Prolonged exposure has even been linked to causing forms of cancer.

Benzidine-Based “Azo Dyes”

This is used to dye your clothing different colors. The FDA has classified these as known carcinogens. These dyes have the potential to metabolize to carcinogenic amines in and on the body and have been linked to bladder cancer. Definitely not something beneficial to the body in any way. 

Phthalates

These are a group of chemicals used to increase the flexibility in plastics and make them more difficult to break. Sadly, they are nearly impossible to avoid due to the fact they are used in EVERYTHING. Your hairspray, shampoo, laundry detergent, car steering wheels, toys, flooring, and food just to name a few. All of these most likely contain phthalates.

Phthalates are endocrine disrupters, meaning they interfere with the hormones in our bodies. This can cause negative effects on our reproductive systems, our behavior, our growth and our metabolism. Once your hormones have been negatively affected, it’s a much more difficult, complicated, and long-term process to reverse the damage. Now, imagine having constant exposure to dangerous hormonal chemicals since adolescence. Can you picture the outcome?

Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)

This is the chemical that makes clothing resistant to water, oil, and stains. PFCs do not break down in the environment, wrecking more havoc in every possible way. They can also be found in non-stick cookware, microwave popcorn bags, fast food wrapping, and fire fighting foam as a few examples. PFCs can be found in almost everyone’s blood from the consistent exposure in our daily lives. Some of the problems associated with PFCs are low birthweight, weakened immune systems, abnormal thyroid levels, high cholesterol, and liver inflammation. 

Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPES)

These are a large class of chemical compounds used in multiple steps of the manufacturing process of clothing and footwear. Some of the health problems associated with NPEs are birth defects, hormone disruption, skin and eye irritation, and reproductive harm. You may have guessed it, these are also found in paint, pesticides, and cleaners. Lovely, isn’t it? Washing clothing ensures the removal of the NPEs, but then they can also end up in our water system and in aquatic animals such as shellfish and fish (and we consume those things, ew!).

Since 2011, for clothing to be considered organic, it has to be tested by a third party in order to qualify. One of the organizations that have the ability to test is the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS). All of our clothing is GOTS certified! For more information on their standards, click here. After reading the nasty chemicals mentioned above and their detrimental possible outcomes, we hope you’ve been convinced to purchase the safest fabrics, not only for yourself but also your little ones. By age 5, children have absorbed 35% of their entire lifetime’s carcinogenic pesticides. All of this needs to be taken into consideration, especially when purchasing clothing: something that is directly placed on the body’s largest organ. To make the environment and ourselves as healthy as can be, we need to take action in every way possible! Be proactive, not reactive.

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