Safer clothing and textiles
So far, there is no perfect place to find chemical free clothing and textiles. Different people use different products, materials, chemicals, etc and sometimes it’s hard to find out what has been going on. Some companies out and out lie about the purity of their products, others are just genuinely clueless about the toxicity of chemicals used in textiles. There are companies that really do make an effort, but the added costs are a burden for many of us.
Then there are the issues of post manufacturing contamination. Things like shipping container or storage pesticides, air “fresheners” and incense, other fragrances used, sold or handled, or even the chemicals used to clean the carpets …
Sadly we still have to be detectives to find safe enough clothing when our bodies no longer tolerate chemical contact, clothing that none-the-less may require a lesser or more extensive detox protocol (see resources) to be wearable.
What follows is a list of links of places from where some people have had some luck finding suitable clothing. A listing here doesn’t necessarily imply an endorsement, especially from an MCS point of view, as we are all different in our tolerance of chemicals, and clothing can also vary batch to batch.
There are many different options here, some organic clothing might only be marginally safer than other non-organic options, as not everything is always labeled either, meaning a regular manufacturer might be making clothing that is actually safer than some that are made from organic fibers, if the other processes are not as toxic, like those from Dharma Trading, while not organic, tend to be safer because they lack the finishes that would prevent dyes from taking to the fabrics.
Some of the companies will list in more detail the lengths they go to to make themselves safer for people who do need to avoid chemicals, and for the environment, as opposed to those just looking for safeR (not safe) clothing, which can include synthetic, but lower impact dyes and finishes.
As I was re-checking some of the links, a couple of sites were infected with malware, so I’ve put those aside for now, but listed one (in its own category) for the brave or well-protected. Always make sure you have good, up-to-date security features when using the internet.
These appear in a somewhat random order… I may work on cleaning this list up over time, and adding details, as my own health permits and as new information comes to light. Please feel free to leave comments with more resources if you have had success with them.
(apologies for the formatting, I am having a lot of trouble with it)
Added Nov 25, 2014:
New report from Sweden:
We have listed hazardous substances that may be found in textiles
The Swedish Chemicals Agency has identified hazardous chemicals that may be found in clothing and textiles in our indoor environment.
CATA-Consumers Against Toxic Apparel
Cottonfield undies, Ts and sleepwear
Dharma Trading (clothing meant to be dyed so has fewer finishing chemicals)
Unfortunately they closed their US office, available from Germany
Maggie’s Organics (especially their dye-free organic socks)
Organic Cotton and Other Natural Fibers
Rawganique (terrible customer service, numerous expensive and poor quality goods, and a lack of truthiness in some descriptions)
Shop by fabric at Faerie’s Dance
SOS organic cotton products
The Original Bug Shirt
The Organic Pages
Threads for Thought
For kids up to 12
Textiles, wools, yarns, felts, batting, DIY
Stoney Mountain Farm
Organic Cotton Plus
Nature’s Choice Organic® Cotton Yarn
ORGANIC, BIODEGRADABLE Naturally Dyed, Eco-Friendly Yarns
Simply Cotton Organic Worsted Yarn
http://www.cloggieshop.com/ (check the plain wood ones if you are very sensitive)
Bath, Bedding and Furniture
(note, many organic bed and furniture manufacturers can provide samples of their materials so you can test for compatibility)
Review/list of different organic mattresses
Site that had malware warnings at the last check-in
Truly Organic Clothing http://www.truly-organic-clothing.com/
More information about textiles and materials
Here’s a blog post that discusses different types of certifications: http://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/certifications-part-1/
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
About natural fibers:
This post discusses the chemical issues (or some of them – Greenpeace International is doing some great work in this area too)