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Linda Sones

Why you should buy organic cotton

Although organic cotton has been cultivated for thousands of years it’s only in about the last decade that we have certified it organic. This is because of increasing concerns from environmentalists and the general public about the impact of the escalating huge quantities of pesticides and insecticides used in the cultivation of conventional cotton. Growing organic cotton is not easy, using chemicals increases yields by up to 20% and standardizes quality. Natural processes used to protect an organic crop are higher risk and makes supply more unpredictable. Resulting products are therefore more expensive and that cost is inevitably passed to the consumer.

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What causes childhood eczema?


I have recently been wondering if the increased incidence of childhood eczema could possibly be linked to clothing and bedding used. Natural untreated fibres used in the manufacture of clothing cause almost no skin problems. We know that conventionally grown cotton is very chemically intensively farmed and amongst many other potential side effects skin damage is mentioned. There is also much speculation about the harmful effects of formaldehyde which is used in textile finishing. It is widely accepted to be carcinogenic in some circumstances. Symptoms associated with formaldehyde exposure include headaches, respiratory problems, coughing and watery eyes. It can also aggravate asthma attacks. Frequent skin contact in clothing which has been treated can cause hyper sensitivity which leads to the development of contact dermatitis. Formaldehyde is applied during the manufacturing process in such a way that it becomes a permanent part of the fibre. Although repeated washings can lower the levels of formaldehyde it continues to be released for the lifetime of the fabric. It might be best therefore to avoid these finishes completely. Although manufacturers are not required to state whether they have used formaldehyde look for items that are labelled “no iron”, “shrink proof”, “stretch proof”, “permanently pressed” or “crease resistant”. As formaldehyde is used to keep fabrics wrinkle free these terms are indicative that it may have been used.Read More »What causes childhood eczema?

Baby toiletries: chemical vs natural?

Babies are helpless little creatures entirely dependent on us to give them the best care we possibly can. There is a wealth of information available to mums about feeding and parenting but when it comes to baby toiletries there is little information given and a bewildering range of products to choose from.

It used to be thought that cosmetics did not penetrate the skin and there were consequently no regulations about what manufacturers put into their products. Adult human skin is thought to absorb 60% of everything it comes into contact with and baby’s skin is about six times thinner and five times more sensitive. Yet when you read the list of ingredients listed on baby products they look much the same as those listed on standard family toiletries. Furthermore there is no independent assessment on the safety of chemical substances used even though there are rising levels of concern about potential harmful effects on both health and the environment. Manufacturers are not required to prove ingredients to be safe. At present 99% of the substances that have been used for years are only tested by the manufacturers. Only if an ingredient is proved to be unsafe is it withdrawn.

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