Buying Organic Baby Clothes Helps Reduce Pesticide Use

by Nicola Temple on March 5, 2012

Choosing to buy organic baby clothes is a big step to supporting eco friendly farming practices and reducing the widespread use of pesticides. To understand why, we have to start with the story of the most commonly used baby clothing fabric of all…cotton.

Cotton fabric accounts for half the fiber worn in the world. After all, it’s a breathable, soft, natural fabric that absorbs skin moisture and is easily cleaned.

However, cotton is often called a ‘dirty crop’ due to the amount of pesticides used in its production. It’s estimated that cotton cultivation uses 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the world’s pesticides.

The US produces approximately 16 million bales of cotton a year with each bale weighing 500 pounds.

If cotton growers use on average, 5.3 oz (151g) of chemicals to produce one pound of processed cotton, that comes out to 1.3 million tons of chemicals used each year in the cotton belt of the US.

As many of the pesticides used in the cotton industry are different from those used in other crops, such as corn, their fate in the environment remains poorly understood. Investigations are currently underway to learn more.

What we do know from the use of many other pesticides though, is that the use of these chemicals can lead to:

  • Wildlife poisoning
  • Chemicals retained in the soils long after crops are done
  • Chemicals leaching into fresh water systems, including drinking water sources
  • Health implications for those in direct contact with the chemicals
  • Health implications for those that live in regions of pesticide use

If present in the environment, children, in particular, are at greater risk of exposure to pesticides simply as a result of their behaviors and habits. After all, kids are crawling on the ground, putting random objects in their mouths, and digging in the dirt – all part of a daily routine.

What buying organic baby clothes does NOT do:

Contrary to what some may believe, buying organic baby clothes does not directly reduce your child’s exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

Cotton clothing does not contain pesticide residues. Pesticide residues, if any, remain with the seed rather than the fibre that is used in fabric production.

In other words, don’t buy organic baby clothes to avoid toxic chemicals from coming in contact with that beautiful newborn skin. Conventional cotton simply doesn’t contain pesticide residues.

What buying organic baby clothes DOES do:

Babies go through a lot of clothes; ‘tis the nature of the beasts. If you consider all the onesies, hats, shirts, sleepers, pants, socks and everything else we dress our kiddies up in, it adds up to a whole lot of clothes for one very little person.

Making the decision to buy organic baby clothes helps support organic cotton growers that are using sustainable farming methods.  Increased demand for organic fabrics means less pesticides used. This in turn promotes:

  • wildlife in our agricultural areas
  • healthier soils
  • cleaner water and air
  • healthier working conditions for farmers

In other words, it supports a healthier environment and therefore a brighter future for our children.

organic baby clothes

Choosing to buy organic baby clothes means supporting sustainable farming practices and a healthier future.

Five of my favorite organic baby clothes

Now that you know the reasons behind choosing organic for your baby, I couldn’t leave you without directing you to some of my favourite organic baby clothes. Here are my five favorites:

1. My absolute favourite is the Babysoy Janey  onepiece. They are made from a blend of 50% eco friendly bamboo and 50% organic cotton. The Janey collection stems from a collaboration between Babysoy and the Jane goodall Institute. They feature adorable artwork, using water-based ink, of endangered species. This helps bring awareness to some endangered species, but to top it all off, a portion of the sales help benefit the conservation work of the Jane Goodall Institute. Talk about a good karma purchase!

2. Another favorite is also a Babysoy product, the Organic Footie. Once again, it’s made of a bamboo/organic cotton blend. This outfit comes prewashed so you don’t have to be concerned about shrinking. It’s also nice and thick and soft, a good indicator that it’s a quality product that will last.

3. Hudson Baby makes a number of 100% cotton outfits that fit both the comfort and cute criteria.

4. When it comes to organic affordable, the Gerber 4-pack organic onesies is my recommendation. They’re made of organic cotton, they’re plain and they’re affordable – given how many of these a baby can go through in a week, these are important factors.

5. When it comes to organic gift giving, I have to say I like The Baby Bunch Organic Bunch Blush. It’s a bit of a tongue twister, but I haven’t seen anything else like it as far as presentation of a set of organic clothes for baby. It’s a great gift idea.

For some more advice on shopping for organic baby clothes, have a look at the short video below. It provides some sage advice regarding looking at labels and what to look for in a product. My own advice is to ignore the sizing on the clothing label. Organic or not, I’m convinced that baby clothing manufacturers are trying to mess with our minds when it comes to sizing. I’m sure that when my son was three months old, he wore anything from an infant size to a 6-9 month size depending on the manufacturer. There’s lots of variety out there – so don’t always believe the label.

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