Conventionally grown cotton is one of the worlds most sprayed crops. 25% of all insecticides and 10% of the pesticides sprayed are used on cotton plants.1 Half of the worlds textiles are made from cotton so it is important to consider the impact all these chemicals are having on the planet, the farmers and the wearers.
Organically grown cotton plants are not grown from Genetically Modified seeds which account for 70% of all US grown cotton.
Organic cotton farming provides workers (often in developing countries) with a safe and sustainable method of farming. Non organic farming has been linked to cancer and the disruption of hormonal and reproductive health amongst farmers. 2
Non organic cotton goes through many chemically intensive processes which are also hazardous to health. 2 These chemicals are still present in the fibre which is why we feel it is important to have organic cotton next to your baby’s skin. We have found that babies and children who are prone to eczema, itchy skin conditions or sensitive skin do not have as many flare ups or reactions when they wear organic cotton, especially as underwear. It is also beneficial for them to have organic cotton bedding as they are in bed for up to 12 hours.
As well as the benefits to humans organically grown cotton is far better for the environment, pests are dealt with in harmony with nature using, for example in Uganda black ants keep cotton plant eating caterpillars under control. In other countries mixtures of chili are used. All these natural pest deterring methods ensure that ultimately our food chain and water supply is not contaminated and the foods we eat are safe.
There are big reasons to use cloth/washable/reusable nappies.
1. The cost saving compared to disposables is around £600. That is assuming to spend around £300 on a set of nappies and includes washing costs and ongoing costs such as flushable liners. It's easy not to notice how much you will spend on disposable nappies because they get lumped in with your supermarket shop, but that £6-12 you spend each week adds up to a considerable amount when you think that the average British baby potty trains at around 2 and a half years old.
2. A disposable nappy is made up of a whole host of chemicals and plastics that in my opinion should not be next to a baby's skin. Everyone knows that natural fabrics like cotton are much nicer to wear because they breath and feel nice, the same applies to nappies.
3. Every baby in disposables produces about a tonne of nappy waste. That's a lot of waste that isn't going anywhere for a long time because disposables contain plastics and gels that do not readily degrade. Experts estimate that it will take around 500 years for the nappies we are burying now to decompose. What a legacy to be leaving furture generations.
There are many reasons why using products containing PVC or BPA chemicals can be harmful to us, our children and the environment.
PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) is a plastic most commonly used across all industries such as cars, toys, and other goods.
The production of PVC releases harmful toxins namely Dioxin, the most carcenogenic stubstance in the world. As well as cancer, Dioxin is also linked to health risks such as damage to the immune system and reproductive systems as well as birth defects. Therefore we feel strongly about toxin free products for us and especially our children.
In addition, PVC cannot be easily recycled and is considered as a contaminant to many recycling programs and therefore it cannot be incinerated due to the release of such toxins.
There are some items which do contain PVC such as raincovers for pushchairs. However some suppliers such as Orbit do make PVC free raincovers.
The Orbit Stroller designer Joseph Hei had this to say: "we’re proud of the fact that we had the first PVC-free rain shield, and that it remains that way. For other parts, everything that touches your child is PVC-free. The reason why we have to give this ‘basically everything is PVC-free’ answer is that there are some parts that we’ve had to keep PVC - such as the thin black sheaths that cover the cables in our products (like the brake cables on a bike). In the end, I’m still confident that we pay more attention to this issue than any other stroller manufacturers, not least because our own kids continue to use the products."
Orbit is by far the Greenest stroller we have come across and it's why we love it so much.
Search PVC health risks for information on why it is best for your families health and the earths to not purchase PVC.
BPA (Bisphenol A) is another chemical commonly used in the production of such products as baby bottles and reusable water bottles. BPA is an oestrogen mimic. The problem with putting it in baby bottles is that when microwave or steam sterlised the BPA leeches out of the bottles and then becomes present in the drink when added to the bottle. http://environment.about.com/od/healthenvironment/f/bisphenol-a-health-effects.htm
There are numerous health risks associated with ingesting BPA, including heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities.
‘According to the Washington Post, a draft report from the U.S. National Toxicology Program that expressed concern that BPA could cause behavioral changes in infants and children and trigger the early onset of puberty in females. In April 2008, the Canadian government banned the use of polycarbonate in infant bottles.’ (http://www.environmentfirst.info/bpa_free.php)
There are lots of benefits to buying Fair Trade or Fairly Traded items:
All of our suppliers whose items are manufactured in India or Asia assure us that the factories they use are assessed regulary for thir working practices. So although they may not have the Fair Trade mark the goods come from supply chains that meet high trading standards. If they didn't we would not stock them. Some of our suppliers choose not to certify with the Fair Trade foundation as it adds a premium to their manufacturing and ultimately the price of their goods, a high proportion of which is used for marketing of the Fair Trade brand and does not necessaryily go directly to the factories/workers they deal with. This is why you will see the term 'Fairly Traded' used rather than 'Fair Trade'.