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Organic vs Non-organic Cotton: Who wins? 0

Looking for simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint this year? When buying your next cotton t-shirt, buy organic and cut the carbon footprint of your purchase by over 15%.

Say it Green! (www.sayitgreen.com), provider of organic, fair trade apparel custom printed with eco-friendly inks, has calculated that, all other things being equal, the carbon footprint of apparel made from organic cotton is 16% lower than that of apparel made from conventional cotton. Organic cotton is grown pesticide free, lowering the carbon footprint of organic cotton apparel by not having to process and distribute the toxic pesticides used in farming conventional cotton.

“The toxic pesticides used to grow conventional cotton contaminate our soil, water, air, and even remain in our food and clothing. We knew that, which is why we chose to offer clothing made exclusively from organic cotton. What we didn’t know was that the manufacture and distribution of these pesticides leads to such a high level of greenhouse gases being emitted into our atmosphere,” says Kira Dominguez-Hultgren, Say it Green! co-founder and Operational Manager.

Carbon footprinting is one tool used to track the level of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions associated with a product or business. There is broad consensus that man-made greenhouse gases (GHGs) cause global climate change. The scientific community has indicated that global climate change is already occurring, making it imperative that we start reducing greenhouse gas emissions now.

Eliminating our use of cotton pesticides is one easy way we can do this. Cotton pesticides are manufactured by big chemical companies and distributed to cotton farmers worldwide, and cotton requires a much higher pesticide level than the average crop. Even though it only makes up 5% of crop acreage in America, cotton crops account for 10% of all US farm pesticide use. In addition, worldwide cotton production accounts for 25% of all worldwide insecticide use (insecticides are a type of pesticide). Organic cotton does not require the use of these toxic pesticides.

Just how toxic are these pesticides? According to a 2001 EPA study, the EPA considers seven of the top fifteen cotton pesticides used in the US to be “possible,” “likely,” “probable,” or “known” human cancer-causing chemicals.

The research for this study was done by Andy Hultgren, co-founder of Say it Green! and Kira’s husband. Andy currently works for the sustainability consultancy Environmental Performance Group and is the company’s technical expert in carbon footprinting. Andy has conducted numerous carbon footprint studies for a wide range of businesses and government organizations, and has served on a technical expert panel for The Climate Registry, North America’s leading provider of carbon footprint standards and data reporting.

“This carbon footprint study was actually quite limited in the potential GHG-reduction benefits of organic cotton that were considered,” says Hultgren. “For example, organic cotton farmers use environmentally friendly fertilizers, often from very local sources. That means they are often not buying their fertilizers from big chemical companies, who produce them in factories and have them shipped all over the world. And organic cotton farmers typically use better soil management practices, leading to increased soil health and potentially less need for GHG emitting farmland expansion. So really, the potential GHG reducing benefits of organic cotton could be much higher than the 16% we calculated as resulting solely from the elimination of toxic pesticides. Pesticide elimination was just the easiest aspect to look at.”

Data for the study was sourced from the US Department of Agriculture and from the Carnegie Mellon University Green Design Institute Industry Benchmark model.

For more information regarding Andy’s assumptions and calculations, feel free to read the detailed Organic vs. Conventional cotton GHG calculations and assumptions.

Your clothes. Your voice. Say it Green!

Additional Information:

“Conventional cotton has any number of problems associated with it,” says Hultgren. “For example, the fertilizers used by conventional cotton growers typically run off into our water ways, contaminating them and contributing to massive algae growths that kill off other aquatic plant and animal species. And as for our carbon footprint study, it really was a limited study of the potential GHG reduction benefits of organic cotton.”

According to records held by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, in 1999 a work crew started work in a cotton field five hours after it has been treated with pesticides. Seven members of that work crew sought medical treatment and five continue to face health problems.


  • Mikee Mercader

Benefits of Buying Organic Cotton Fabrics 0

Is Formaldehyde a safe ingredient? 0

Formaldehyde and many formaldehyde releasing preservatives have found home in the many products we use on a daily basis such as shampoo, conditioners, hair gels, and tooth paste. Is it safe or not, you be the judge.

Believe it or not the strong smelling chemical compound Formaldehyde, which is colorless, and flammable and is used in manufacturing building supplies such as insulation, plywood, particle board, glues and adhesives is also commonly found in a lot of personal care products as well like, shampoo, soaps, and cosmetics
used as a preservative; even certain vitamins are known to have this nasty chemical as well as clothes and many more surprising products.

Formaldehyde has been classified by the EPA as a carcinogen which is a (cancer causing chemical). Those who suffer from sensitivity to Formaldehyde can experience symptoms such as nose, throat and eye irritation, headaches, rashes, and hives. Other symptoms could include, trouble sleeping, memory lose, trouble focusing, ear infections, migraines, difficulty breathing, aching muscles and joints, and abdominal pain.

It is said that the air in your home may be 3-70 times higher in air pollution that the air outside. I have a close friend who was so sensitive to formaldehyde; he had to eventually move out of his house and now lives in an older home in a warmer climate with lots of ventilation. Prior to his move doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. He would suffer from very intense, severe migraines. Finally when it all boiled down to it being Formaldehyde, the carpets came up, wood floors went down, and they continued to try to eliminate the amount of Formaldehyde in their house to the point they gave up and eventually moved. Of course not everyone is as sensitive to Formaldehyde as he is, but it does go to show how nasty this chemical can be to those who are sensative and how invasive it is. It’s in a lot of products.

I understand that the companies that use these harmful ingredients in products such as our soaps, and shampoos are in small regulated amounts that you can easily find on the internet, but if other countries such as Japan and Sweden have put bans on ingredients such as Formaldehyde in toiletries and cosmetics should that raise some concern, especially when child hood asthma and cancer are so rapid.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, we live in a chemical world and though it does seem hopeless to be chemical free, every little effort and decision will help. You may not be able to avoid them all, but shouldn’t we at least start becoming more informed and educated on these ingredients our government tells us is safe and make the decisions for ourselves.


  • Mikee Mercader

The Health and Environmental Problems with Clothes Dyes 0

Do you ever experience occasional headaches? Or, perhaps you’ve had difficulty breathing on occasion? Or, maybe you’ve developed an intermittent skin rash?

Sometimes these things just seem to happen “for no apparent reason” right?

Well, maybe there is always a reason. Things don’t just happen. We might not know the reason, but there’s bound to be one.

In many cases, your clothes could be the culprit.

Your clothes could be causing you health problems and you don’t even know it. Most of today’s clothes have been dyed and/or laminated so that they look good, and continue to do so for many months/years to come. Unfortunately, it is these dyes that cause so many health problems for people around the world. The same dyes cause problems for the natural environment too.

Here’s a look at some of these problems.
Health Problems

Clothing dyes can cause the following health problems:

* skin rashes
* headaches
* trouble concentrating
* nausea
* diarrhea
* fatigue
* muscle and joint pain
* dizziness
* breathing difficulties
* irregular heart beat
* seizures

Furthermore, children can experience the following:

* red cheeks and ears
* dark circles under the eyes
* hyperactivity
* behavioral problems
* learning problems

Because clothing is in constant contact with your skin, the chemicals are absorbed into your skin through your pores. They can then enter your liver, kidney, bones, heart and brain.

Most people have some sort of chemical sensitivity. Some are more sensitive to chemicals than others. Those who are more sensitive will notice the impact of clothing dyes more than others. Those of us who aren’t as sensitive, may still experience some symptoms but just not realize it.
Environmental Problems

The biggest environmental problem with clothing dyes is it’s effect on our waterways – rivers, creeks, oceans, drinking water, etc.

Large amounts of water is needed to flush dyes from garments. Because conventional synthetic dyes contain chemicals, these chemicals are washed away with the water. In theory, the heavy metals and toxins should be removed from the water before it’s returned to the water systems. In practice, this is rarely the case – especially in developing countries where pollution laws/standards are often non-existent.

The result of this, is that the polluted water goes straight into the rivers, creeks, and oceans. Not good for the environment.
A More Eco Friendly Solution?

There are a range of healthier and eco-friendly alternatives when it comes to dying our clothes. Some are better than others. These range from using natural dyes, to “low impact” dyes, to not dying at all!


  • Mikee Mercader

Why Clothes are Bad for the Environment 0

Sometimes it seems that just about everything we buy these days ends up being bad for the environment. I mean, even the clothes we’ve all been buying and wearing for so many years have turned out to be bad for the environment…

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that wearing clothes is bad for the environment! The problem lies in the fabrics that are being used to make our modern day clothes. These fabrics tend to be far from eco-friendly. Here are some examples:

* Cotton: The production of (non-organic) cotton destroys farmland and pollutes waterways. The production of a simple T-shirt requires two pounds of pesticide!
* Dyes: Most common dyes that are used in fabrics contain heavy metals that can be harmful to animals, the natural environment, and ourselves.
* Synthetic polyesters and nylons: These are made from petrochemicals via a process of refining crude oil, which creates horrible pollution.
* Silk: Commercial silk is made by boiling the silkworms’ cocoons, then unwinding the single silk strand onto reels. This results in the silkworms being boiled to death in their cocoons.

What’s more, many fabrics cause further environmental problems when they’re dumped in landfill. Fabrics can typically take hundreds of years (or more) to break down in landfill.

But there is hope. Many major clothing companies are recognizing the environmental problems caused by traditional fabrics, and they’re starting to do something about it. These companies are now producing clothes that are made from eco-friendly fabrics.

Unfortunately, eco-friendly clothes still tend to be the exception rather than the norm. That’s why it’s so important for us, as consumers, to start searching for clothes made from environmentally friendly fabrics. The more of us that do this, the more commercially viable it will be for companies to use eco-friendly fabrics in their clothing lines. Here’s an example of one major clothing company doing just that.


  • Mikee Mercader

Are Dyed Clothes Safe to Wear? 0

The dye on a finished garment, by it’s nature, is chemically stable – that’s what makes a dye color fast. However, research is emerging that examines the short and long term effects of potential skin absorption of dye and finishing chemicals through clothing. The CNN report October 2007 which Shana wrote about on Green Cotton, revealed that new testing procedures (chemical burden testing) reveal that young babies and children actually do have increased levels of chemicals in their bloodstream and skin. Because clothing comes into prolonged contact with one’s skin, toxic chemicals are often absorbed into the skin, especially when one’s body is warm and skin pores have opened to allow perspiration. We also know that some individuals have what is known as chemical sensitivity, including when exposed to garments of many types. http://www.chemicalsensitivityfoundation.org/ Symptoms in adults for chemical sensitivity range from skin rashes, headaches, trouble concentrating, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing, irregular heart beat, and/or seizures. Symptoms in children include red cheeks and ears, dark circles under the eyes, hyperactivity, and behavior or learning problems. See Lotusorganics.com for more information.

Dyes are complex chemicals, and as anyone who’s washed a red shirt with a white shirt knows, they don’t stay put forever.

  • Mikee Mercader

Reactions connected with Latex-allergies 3

Risks for developing a latex allergy include working in the healthcare industry and/or requiring multiple surgical procedures. Reactions to latex containing products present in various forms:

Contact Dermatitis: A contact allergy causes a significant red, itchy rash only at the site of contact. This is not life-threatening but can be very bothersome. More than 30% of healthcare workers report this type of reaction. These individuals are at increased risk for developing more severe reactions to latex with ongoing exposure.

Contact Urticaria (Hives):A “local” allergy that causes hives and itching at the site of contact. This type of reaction places the individual at increased risk for developing a life-threatening reaction to latex.

Anaphylaxis: This is a full body reaction to latex allergens and can include itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, chest tightness, wheezing, hives, swelling, drop in blood pressure and shock. This is a potentially life-threatening response to latex allergens. Latex needs to be strictly avoided and the patient should wear a MedicAlert bracelet.

Evaluation for latex allergy includes a thorough history, skin testing, and potentially blood testing. Frequently the diagnosis is based on history alone as there is no standardized testing material. Controlled exposure can also aid in diagnosis. It is important to have this potentially life-threatening allergy evaluated.

  • Mikee Mercader

Organic Baby Clothes 2

By Adam, March 28, 2010 2:51 am

How much safer are organic baby clothes? Some of the pesticides used to treat textile fibers can cause cancer, but the risk seems to be negligible. Some of the chemicals used to treat cotton fibers are petroleum-based and therefore they are very hard to wash away. Moreover, another great problem with conventional baby clothes are dyes that can cause skin allergies and irritations. Organic baby clothes seem to be the solution by their toxin-free content. Any environment-conscious parent should think about purchasing ecological products for the babies, toddlers and children.

There are people who claim that the benefits of organic baby clothes are not exactly direct, since there are very few chances of skin reactions to the fertilizers and pesticides used to treat the plants that give the fibers. The toxic residues are mainly eliminate during the processing of the fibers. Only extremely sensitive skin will have reactions to the minor residues in the fabric. The reduced stress on the environment therefore becomes the main benefit of organic baby clothes.

Price is usually a problem that prevents many people from buying organic baby clothes. Sometimes the costs of such apparel items are with 50% higher than conventional clothes, and few people are willing to invest in clothing items that will only be worn for a month or two. Plus, the need to constantly renew the little one’s wardrobe will further become an issue of affordability.


  • Mikee Mercader

Latex-Free Socks 4

Two satisfied customers posted testimonials about their Latex-Free Cottonique Socks experience:

By Amy on 12/24/2009

“The only socks that I have been able to wear.”

”Allergic to Latex Spandex Elastic so every sock Ive tried gave me a rash. these socks are truly allergy free! But I am gona warn ya there not what I wouod concider sexy looking, but neither is an allergic reaction. money well spent.”

 

 

 By James on 12/23/2009

“I can wear socks. Either way. These are worth it. Other latex free socks have a little spandex in them. These are nice cuz they don’t have any elastic in them. Great job cottonique.”

To buy Latex-free socks online, visit www.cottonique.com! You comments and testimonials are always welcome. Feel free to surf our website.

  • Admin Cottonique

Top 20 Weird Allergies 14

Here is another reason why you must choose Cottonique.

In a research made by skin allergy experts, doctors named Top 20 Weird Allergies. And yes, underwear made it to 9th place.  Check out who leads the fight against skin diseases and latex allergies! Thank you HEART HEALTH for featuring Cottonique to your blog.

“9. Underwear

As with the shoe allergy, men and women who find themselves grappling against rashes and lesions because of their underwear point fingers towards the fabric used in assembling the garment. Latex and rubber in the waistbands, chemicals used in creating synthetic fabrics such as nylon and lycra, and resins for treating can all cause skin irritations in affected individuals. The easiest solution fortunately exists as the best. After confirming an allergy with a professional skin test, simply seek out undergarments made of materials without the offending constructs. Should a search at local stores ultimately prove fruitless, online retailers such as Cottonique specialize in hypoallergenic clothing.”

  • Admin Cottonique

Cotton versus synthetic 1

There are numerous benefits of using cotton over synthetic material when it comes to clothing, however, probably the most beneficial of reasons is that Cotton is not a reactive material. Cotton is a material that protects the skin from chemicals, harmfull materials, sweat, and climate conditions.

Cotton is also considered the best choice for people suffering from asthma because it naturally helps remove and absorb body moisture, improving air circulation in the skin and keeping the body at it’s normal temperature.

Environmentally, cotton is nature friendly. When developed without the use of chemicals and pesticides Cottonique harvesting is practically harmless to the enviroment.

These are just some of the reasons Cottonique prides itself in developing 100% organic cotton chemical free clothing.


  • Mikee Mercader

Latex Allergy 2

Latex can be found anywhere at home, hospitals, schools, and in the office. Toys, sanitary gloves, clothes, they all have latex and too much exposure to latex can lead to the development of an allergic reaction. Many people in the world are suffering from latex allergy, but, they are now aware of it. This skin illness can be serious if not treated right. Here are some tips to prevent latex allergy reactions:

1. Know which items are made from latex, and replace them with non-latex items.

2. Even breathing in the particles of powdered latex gloves can be harmful.

3. In the hospitals, ask if they have non-latex gloves, because most doctors and nurses use latex-based gloves.

4. Always carry a medical alert bracelet, necklace, or key chain that notes your allergy.

5. Epinephrine injection with you will be good, but ask your physician first.


  • Mikee Mercader