When my son was a baby he had very bad eczema and among the many things I was advised to do was to use organic cotton. Most parents are well aware of the reasoning behind giving children organic food especially as babies, but how many of us are aware of how bad standard cotton is?
Our children are precious things and as tiny, vulnerable babies our instinct to protect them from bad things is very strong. We want them to grow up safe and well but there are many invisible toxins in our environment that can do them serious harm. I have written previously about this but wanted to focus in more on organic cotton and eczema as it is also something people have often mentioned to me.
Standard cotton is grown using lots of toxic chemicals as pesticides and fertilisers. Persistent organic pollutants are particularly harmful and spread from the cotton fields into the water course and the food. But it’s not just the growing process that involves high levels of chemicals but also washing, dying, printing and finishing. Special ‘high tech’ finishes such as ‘non-iron’ which are created using PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) are so worrisome that WWF have advised parents not to buy clothing with this on. Water repellent, antiperspirant, anti-cling, anti-static, anti-shrink and others should also be avoided. A Greenpeace report found various dangerous substance in children’s clothes from big brands. Phthalates, PFOA (Perflouroctonoic Acid) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) were all shown to be present at higher levels than is safe.
Eczema is one of the milder problems that these nasties can cause. The toxins can also affect immune, hormone and reproductive systems and links have been found to birth defects, neurodevelopmental delays & cognitive impairment, childhood brain cancers, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and Endocrine disruption. Such chemicals have been known to give male fish female characteristics, so they can’t good to have next to our children’s skin. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs what is on it which goes into the lymphatic system, the blood stream and then the liver. It is thought that children may be more sensitive to the effects of chemicals than adults particularly when in the womb.
Synthetics such as nylon, rayon and polyester are made using lots of horrible chemicals too and so can cause itching and rashes. Anecdotal evidence shows that because organic cotton is less scratchy it will not irritate the wearer as much. It is also breathable as opposed to synthetic fabrics making it much more comfortable. Because of this Doctors recommend using clothing that minimizes irritation and avoid using harsh soaps and detergents.
The European Union has regulations in place for chemicals in children’s toys but not clothing. It is unknown as yet whether such legislation will come into place after leaving the EU. The US provides very little protection on this issue as seen by the Netflix documentary Stink! When buying organic cotton always look for certification such as GOTS or OEKO-TEX. You can see our fabric manufacturers certification here and our printers inks are OEKO-TEX certified.
Organic cotton is of course a little more expensive but has many benefits over conventional cotton. You can read more reasons to buy organic here and visit our collection which is all made from certified organic cotton made in Britain here.
How Organic Cotton Can Help Comfort and Treat Eczema in Babies | Cat & Dogma (catanddogma.com)
Eczema – should I only buy organic clothes? | Mumsnet
Eczema Advice | Organic Clothes Can Help Eczema (greennippers.co.uk)
(1) How Organic Cotton Clothing Can Help Eczema (elves-in-the-wardrobe.com.au)
Organic Cotton Clothing for Kids With Eczema & Sensitive Skin (itchylittleworld.com)
The 3 Best Fabrics for Eczema and the 4 You Should Avoid – ShadyBay
Eczema Causes & Triggers | National Eczema Association
Pure Cotton Comfort | Eczema Relief For all Ages Since 1980 (eczemaclothing.com)
Toxic chemicals in children′s clothes, explained | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 16.01.2014
Phasing out the toxic chemicals in children’s clothing | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian
Top Secret: Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products | Toxic-Free Future
Consumers Beware: Toxins Lurking in Your Clothing! | Allergies & Asthma | Articles | Magazine (totalhealthmagazine.com)