By: Barbara Hodal, DC
Organic products are sweeping the nation, and we're not just talking food.
Hardly alone in making this lifestyle change, I notice more people have gotten used to the organic food movement, seeing how it makes sense to watch what we put in our bodies, but what about on them? Allowing only the most natural of fibers to surround us is a conscious decision rapidly becoming the norm for many families.
It's not only about the health of it, it's also the comfort factor. Think about it, close your eyes and feel it, to be wrapped in soft, silky organic cottons. Being compromised and weakened by chemicals used in growing and processing, conventional can not match the quality, softness or benefits of organic.
Organic means growing fibers "naturally" in fields without synthetic chemicals, for at least three years. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.
Knowing our skin is the largest organ of our body, providing a huge absorption area, we may want to take another look at alternatives to conventional. Toxins used to grow, process and dye fabric are absorbed through the skin, breathed in and in the case of little ones, ingested when a baby chews on their clothing. Something to think about considering we sleep about eight hours a day in chemically laden sheets.
Astonishing statistics on the detrimental health effects of chemicals, especially where children are concerned, are cropping up everywhere. When your realize that conventional cotton uses approximately 25% of the world's insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides (including herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants.), you may start to pay attention.
The USDA reports that eighty-four million pounds of pesticides were sprayed on the 14.4 million acres of conventional cotton grown in the U.S. in 2000 (5.85 pounds/ acre), ranking cotton second behind corn in total amount of pesticides sprayed. Synthetic fertilizers applied to conventional cotton the same year, were over 2.03 billion pounds (142 pounds/acre), making cotton the fourth most heavily fertilized crop behind corn, winter wheat, and soybeans. It takes roughly one-third of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just one T-shirt!
To bring it all home, the Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in 2000 in the United States as "possible," "likely," "probable," or "known" human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin). So much for cotton being the fabric of our lives.
Before you invest your time and money in choosing the clothing and bedding to surround yourself and your children, consider organic. Although, organic clothes and bedding used to cost twice as much as conventional, over the past few years that has come down to about 25 percent. Since going organic is gaining in popularity, product sales continue to grow to the tune of about 40 percent per year. This means the relative cost will continue to decrease, a huge consumer benefit.
A win - win situation arises as we choose to support the organic farmer and the industry as a whole. You don't need to jump in with both feet. Just by making the choice to start introducing organic to your family will, in the long run, give us better health, a less contaminated Earth and more affordable products.
About The Author
Dr. Barbara Hodal is a chiropractor and owner of Crystal Baby Organics, an on line baby store offering organic cotton and wool clothing, bedding and gifts. Visit www.crystalbabyorganics.com