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Why Organic Cotton For Baby Clothes

Jun 12, 2008
Did you know that 25% of the world's pesticides used have been sprayed on cotton? In fact it takes a cup full of chemicals just to make one child's t-shirt.

Shocking really. The consequence? According to the World Health Organisation 20,000 deaths occur in developing countries each year due to pesticide pollution, many of these deaths as a direct result of producing cotton. In addition, research carried out by PAN UK suggests 3 million people suffer after effects of cotton production. Pesticides also damage the soil fertility and destroy wildlife.

In addition, there is a chronic lack of protective apparatus, poor labelling of pesticides, and inadequate safeguards to protect farm workers and their families in developing countries from chronic disease. Cotton workers are often so poor they are forced to store pesticides within their homes, use their own utensils to apply chemicals to cotton and to re-use the empty pesticide canisters as water vessels.

A tragic tale is the death of four children whose father left his pesticide soaked clothes on the roof after a day's work. During the night it rained and the pesticides dripped through the roof onto the breakfast bowls in the kitchen below, which the children ate from in the morning poisoning them.

The chemical process continues after the cotton is grown. Non-organic cotton products are then coloured with toxic dyes. For example, Dioxin, a bi-product of bleach is used to whiten clothing and formaldehyde can also be used to make the clothing more presentable. A baby's skin is five times thinner than an adult's making it easier for chemicals to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Organic cotton production uses crop rotation instead of chemicals and artificial fertilisers, and biological pest control instead of pesticides. Though organic cotton is more environmentally friendly than standard cotton, it costs more to produce, which is why organic cotton clothing costs more in the shops than the standard cotton.

There are other benefits to choosing organic clothes and toys for our children. With organic material, you are getting a far softer, stronger, better material because the cotton fibres are left intact and not broken down by the chemicals used in the farming and processing of conventional cotton.

Organic cotton also smells nicer as formaldehyde is not used to finish the product. It is also less likely to trigger allergies as there is an absence of chemicals and an increased breathability in organic cotton.
Whilst parents have the right to choose the products they purchase for their children, this should be an informed choice, having being presented with the facts of cotton production.
About the Author
An article by Scott Demaret on Baby Gifts and
Organic Baby Clothes and Toys
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