Organic For Me!

Organic For Me!

After my recent trip to Paris and Vincennes, I am of the opinion that Paris and Vincennes are great places to raise a baby. They have large parks where you can use gigantic prams to push your baby and take long walks with you baby and bond with him or her. The weather is good and the baby does not sweat as  all. In addition, everything from food to skincare, are all natural. French men and women are skinny because they live by all natural cooking, with little or no preservatives. More interestingly, France and French are advocates of  natural and organic products. They spends days and hours in the laboratory to create and cultivate the most compatible and effective natural products meant for the even the most sensitive baby skin.

It is a known fact that cotton is one of the most common fabric which is used to manufacture clothes and we have been wearing white cotton clothing for centuries. Naturally coloured cotton is cotton that has been bred to have colors other than the yellowish off-white typical of modern commercial cotton fibres. Natural colours grown include red, green and several shades of brown. The cotton’s natural color does not fade. Yields are typically lower and the fiber is shorter and weaker but the natural coloured cotton has a softer feel than the more commonly available “white” cotton.

Since the process of growing and fabricating natural colour cotton does not use pesticides, chemicals and  harmful artificial dyes,  there fewer occurrences of allergies and respiratory problems. This form of cotton also feels softer to the skin and has a pleasant smell. Naturally Coloured Cotton is still relatively rare because it requires specialized harvest techniques and facilities, making it much more expensive to harvest than white cotton. By the 1990s, most indigenous coloured cotton landraces or cultivars grown in Africa, Asia and Central and South America were replaced by all-white, commercial varieties.

The history states that  naturally coloured cotton is believed to have originated in the Americas around 5000 years ago in the Andes. Naturally colored cotton today mostly comes from pre-Columbian stocks created by the indigenous peoples of South America. Mochica Indians could be attributed with growing naturally colored cotton of myriad hues, which they maintained for over the last two millenniums on the northern coast of Peru.

Naturally coloured cotton comes from pigments found in cotton pigments and produce shades that range from tan to green and brown. There are certain limitations of  naturally coloured cotton because it has a small fibre and, thus is not suitable for heavy machine spinning. During the World War II, the insufficient supply of dye led to the cultivation of green and brown cotton in the Soviet Union. The US government also showed interest in cultivation of naturally colored cotton but later aborted the project due to low yield and short staple length.

The US Government instructed a famous agronomist, J.O.Ware, to study the Soviet cotton plants to determine whether they were commercially viable in the US. Ware and his colleagues concluded that the green and brown cotton plants yielded too little lint that was too short in staple length. Coloured cotton was officially regulated to obscurity and only in a few places where people are still entranced by its possibilities.

Due to smaller fiber, it becomes impractical to use naturally coloured cotton for clothing manufacturers. But now, coloured cotton is literally squeezed in with the conventional white cotton to make its fiber longer and stronger than other naturally colored cotton to be used in typical looms. Since this hybrid cotton fiber is stronger, it is being used by Levis, L.L. Bean, Eileen Fisher, and Fieldcrest for clothes like khakis.

Naturally coloured cotton is unique and exceptionally different from white cotton as it does not need to be dyed. As naturally coloured cotton does not use dye, it is also environmentally friendly, and it eliminates disposal costs required for toxic dye waste. With the removal of costs required to dispose toxic wastes,  naturally colored cotton is ecologically valid as well as economical. Elimination of dyeing in production could save from US$0.60 to US$1.50 per pound of fabric. Naturally colored cotton is also resistant to change as compared with the conventional dyed white cotton. After washing, the colour becomes stronger and more intense, a characteristic documented from research studies carried out by Texas Tech University. Eventually, the colors may start to return to their original color. Some naturally colored cotton darkens with exposure to the sun. However, green is less stable and fades to tan when exposed to sunlight.

Organic cotton is generally understood as cotton which is grown in subtropical countries such as the United States of America and India, from non-genetically modified plants, and is grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. Its production also promotes and enhances biodiversity and biological cycles. In the United States cotton plantations must also meet the requirements enforced by the National Organic Program (NOP), from the USDA, in order to be considered organic. This institution determines the allowed practices for pest control, growing, fertilizing, and handling of organic crops.

Cotton growers who make the transition to biologically based growing practices expect not only to offer a healthier and cleaner products, but also help and benefit the planet. Some of the contributions to the different ecosystems include:

  • Protecting surface and groundwater quality (eliminating contaminants in surface runoff);
  • Reduced risk in insect and disease control by replacing insecticide with the manipulation of ecosystems;
  • Long-term prevention of pests through beneficial habitat planting;
  • Conservation of biodiversity;
  • Eliminate the use of toxic chemicals used in cotton;
  • Organically grown crops also yield soils with higher organic matter content, thicker topsoil depth, higher polysaccharides content, and lower modulus of rupture; therefore reducing considerably soil erosion.

Production requirements specify the set of changes that must be made to the fielding and farming practices in order for a crop to be considered organic. To begin with, organic fields must go through a cleansing period of three years, without the use of any prohibited substances, before planting the first organic crop. Fields must also be equipped with physical barriers and buzzers in order to prevent contact of organic crops with any chemical substance product of surface runoff from crops nearby. Producers must also strive to promote soil fertility through cultivation practices while maintaining or improving the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the soil and minimize soil erosion. Organic growers must also implement practices to support biodiversity. Such practices include integrated pest management (IPM), which consists of the manipulation of ecosystems that benefit both the crops and the organisms that live around it. In addition to these practices, producers may only apply crop nutrients and soil amendments included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed in crop production.

Handling procedures are all the processes related to product packaging, pest control in handling processing facilities among others. Growers are only allowed the use of mechanical or biological methods for the purpose of retarding spoilage of products, but at the same time it prohibits the use of volatile synthetic solvents in processed products or any ingredient that is labeled as organic.

To ensure that the fabric products have excluded of all harmful chemicals, dyes and materials that will damage human Ecology and destroy Earth’s ecosystem, you must check to see if producers have been certified by International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile Ecology (OEKO-TEX®), head-quartered in Switzerland and the website can be found at www.oeko-tex.com.

The textile industry is characterised by a form of cooperation in which each production stage from raw material to finished textile product is often located in a different place in the world. This extremely fragmented structure is reflected in the complex supply relationships between all the companies involved throughout the textile processing chain. On top of this, different environmental regulations apply in the individual countries involved in textile production.This is where the basic concept of the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 applies: the aim is to level out global differences regarding the assessment of possible harmful substances in textiles. The OEKO-TEX® system can identify and eliminate potential sources of problematic substances at each processing stage. Testing becomes necessary whenever a textile product is recomposed or a chemical change is made to its material.

In fact, it becomes necessary and pertinent for all natural colour cotton and organic cotton manufacturers and suppliers to obtain this OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification, which  is an independent testing and certification system for textile raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of production. Items eligible for certification will include raw and dyed/finished yarns, raw and dyed/finished fabrics and knits, ready-made articles (all types of clothing, domestic and household textiles, bed linen, terry cloth items, textile toys and more).

The independent certification body, which is based in Switzerland, will test for harmful substances which consists of:

  • illegal substances
  • legally regulated substances
  • known harmful (but not legally regulated) chemicals
  • as well as parameters for health care

In their entirety, the requirements clearly exceed existing national legislation. OEKO-TEX® testing for harmful substances always focus on the actual use of the textile. The more intensive the skin contact of a product, the stricter the human ecological requirements are to be met.

Accordingly, there are four product classes which can be tested:

  • Product class I:
    Textile items for babies and toddlers up to 3 years (clothing, toys, bed linen, terry cloth items etc.)
  • Product class II:
    Textiles used close to the skin (underwear, bed linen, T-shirts etc.)
  • Product class III:
    Textiles used away from the skin (jackets, coats etc.)
  • Product class IV:
    Furnishing materials (curtains, table cloths, upholstery materials etc.)

The requirement for certification of textile products according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is that all components of an item have to comply with the required criteria without exception and that means in addition to the outer material, sewing threads, linings, prints as well as non-textile accessories such as buttons, zip fasteners, rivets are included in the testing. Hence it is extremely difficult for many manufacturers to obtain the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification, which is all encompassing to make sure that the cloth that comes in touch with our skin is eco-friendly and without harmful dyes and chemicals which could cause skin allergies or infections.

The Cbiopourmoi range of Natural Coloured Organic Cotton clothes are all natural and safe to wear even on babies with the most sensitive skin. This is because from crop plantation to harvesting to fabrication of yarn and the manufacturing of the natural coloured organic cotton range, no chemicals, no preservatives, no dyes and no colourings have been added. As such, the natural coloured organic cotton makes is soft and soothing for babies with very sensitive skin. Harsh white cotton has been used to cloth babies for so long, and without proper knowledge and available literature, parents often attribute baby skin problems to our surroundings. It might be true that the air particles in the our surroundings play a part to affect the baby’s skin and respiratory conditions,  but these problem can be rectified and reduced if we use an organic baby body wash 2-in-1, apply organic baby face cream and body moisturizer to increase the baby skin protection barrier, and put on natural coloured organic cotton clothes for the baby. By using natural coloured organic cotton clothing and organic products, you are one step ahead of other parents in helping to prevent and elevate eczema or other skin-related ailments commonly found in newborns and babies.

 

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