By Brittany Van Den Brink
Thanks to ever increasing awareness of the harmful effects of chemical-laden pesticides and fertilizers, “organic” has quickly become a buzzword in today’s world.
In both clothing and food alike, “organic” typically means that no pesticides or synthetic additives were used while the product or material was grown, and that it wasn’t genetically modified.
For those reasons, many of us don’t hesitate to purchase organic produce. But, is it really worth shelling out the extra cash for organic clothing? For those who are mindful of what we put on and into our bodies, the short answer is a resounding yes. In fact, across the globe, conventionally grown cotton is blasted with more pesticides than any other crop. The Organic Consumers Association has dubbed it the dirtiest crop on the planet.
As a mother, I get it: it can be difficult to justify the higher price of organic clothing - especially when our babies quickly outgrow their current clothing and there are a myriad of cheaper alternatives available. But the health risks associated with non-organic cotton and fabrics really make springing for organic alternatives worth the higher price tag.
Put simply, non-organic cotton and fabrics can wreak havoc on our health. Our skin is the body’s largest organ. It is also incredibly absorbent; the dyes and additives from everything we wear are absorbed by our skin.
According to the Huffington Post: “We...feel the harmful effects of non-organic cottons and fabrics in our daily lives. Irritated skin, rashes and even headaches and dizziness can be caused by the chemical residue trapped in the threads.” Young children are particularly susceptible to developing neurodevelopmental effects from exposure to such toxins.
Long-term exposure can result in even more severe health risks. The active ingredients in widely-used pesticides and herbicides have been classified as probable human carcinogens and have been linked to depression, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
The good news? Organic clothing tends to be better quality than its non-organic counterparts. This means that it lasts longer, weathering multiple washes and active toddlers. My kids have had some incredibly cute outfits from mainstream fashion outlets that only lasted two wears and washes before they faded, ripped or wore out at the knees.
By contrast, purchasing better quality clothing for my children has enabled the same items to be worn time and again by all of them. So, even though it can seem like a daunting investment up front, when you’re buying less items that are better quality, the price difference in the long run is minimal. Plus, the peace of mind knowing that they aren’t being exposed to toxins through their clothing is priceless.
Invest in a small capsule-type wardrobe for your children. I usually go with about 8 tops and 8 bottoms, which typically yields enough outfits to make it through the week doing laundry once or twice. And, get a good eco-friendly stain remover!
Buy gender neutral. If you have, or plan to have, multiple children, making a conscious choice to buy gender neutral items, like many of the items available here at Sadie Ln, allows them to be passed down from sibling to sibling.
Start small. Just because we know that organic clothing is better for our health doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect. Completely overhauling your kids’ wardrobes to replace conventional fabrics with organic ones could be overwhelming, not to mention expensive. When my kids outgrow an item of clothing and it needs to be replaced, I simply opt for organic. And while I would love to buy 100% organic clothing, it’s not always in my budget. Every little step will be beneficial for their health.