Organic food has come a long way in the last few years. The reasons are not too difficult to figure: people have become more aware of health issues and they like their food to be as free as possible from pesticides, fertilizers and additives.
But organic clothing? And bedding? Why would you bother to spend more on stuff you don’t even eat?
Here are some reasons:
1. You avoid contact with synthetic chemical surface treatments. A switch to an organic mattress and organic bedding will instantly reduce your exposure by about one third – or whatever proportion of the day you spend in bed. One of the most common fire retardants used on mattresses – boric acid – is also used to kill rats!
2. You support organic farming. By choosing organic clothing, you divert your disposable income towards supporting organic agriculture, which will encourage more farmers to employ environmentally friendly farming methods.
3. You support ethical and safe working practices. Farmers working on organic farms are exposed to fewer chemicals. Each year, an estimated 60 million pounds of organophosphate pesticides are applied to U.S. agricultural crops and an additional 17 million pounds are used per year for non-agricultural uses, such as in household pest control products and lawn and garden sprays.
4. You support the use of natural colour and natural dyed fabrics. Dyeing fabrics and yarns consumes a great deal of energy and produces large quantities of toxic waste. Natural-grown colours remove this processing stage altogether, while natural dyes are generally much less polluting than synthetics.
5. You support fair and ethical trade practices. There is a strong and growing link between organic and ethical practices among growers, manufacturers and retailers. Soil Association organic textiles standards now contain the most comprehensive requirements for safe working practices and fair trade.
6. You reduce the allergens present in the environment. By choosing chemical-free, organic fabrics, you help to reduce the background level of potentially allergenic chemical compounds. A recent U S National Academy of Sciences study suggested that one in four developmental and behavioural problems in children may be linked to genetic and environmental factors, including exposure to lead, mercury and organophosphate pesticides.
7. You save on toxic waste. Organic fabrics can be composted safely, without contributing to toxins in the soil.
8. You support biodiversity. Organic farming aids biodiversity at every level of the food chain, by using fewer pesticides and fertilisers and by adopting wildlife-friendly habitat management techniques.
9. You save energy. Conventional farming is a huge consumer of non-renewable fossil fuels. Organic farms tend to use less energy, instead focusing on careful ecological management and natural balances to solve pest problems.
10. You can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. What you wear says something about you, even if it doesn’t have a slogan printed on it!