There's a lot of toxic chemicals in mainstream baby clothes so if you want to give your newborn baby a safe start to life, look for clothing that is GOTS certified organic and chemical free. Your baby's skin has a role to absorb and shed water, protect against UV damage, regulate body temperature and synthesize vitamin D. But did you know that babies have more sensitive and penetrable skin than us?
Newborn skin is more permeable than an adults which means it has less elastic fibers and can easily absorb toxins in it's environment. In addition, the outermost layer of a baby's skin (the epidermis) isn’t as firmly attached to the deeper dermis layer. So unlike an adult, whose epidermis and dermis are tightly adhered, dangerous substances can easily make their way through a baby’s skin layers.
Our adult skin may provide a barrier against harmful pathogens and chemicals but baby's skin does not. Because your baby's skin is 3-5 times thinner than yours, it can easily absorb irritants, allergens and bacteria from the environment. When these penetrate your baby's skin, they can end up concentrated in your baby's body.
As one study put it,
“Infant skin is functionally still developing and the impaired barrier function of newborn skin makes a baby more susceptible to chemical irritation”
Sustainable fabrics, like organic cotton or bamboo, are better for your baby’s health. Compared to regular cotton, GOTS certified organic cotton is produced without harmful chemicals which means it’s fibre’s are softer, safer and less abrasive for your child. The longer fibres and handpicking of the cotton ensures the threads remain strong, soft and durable, and being GOTS certified organic also means that no pesticides, chemicals, or solvents are used which reduces your baby's exposure to toxins.
The purity of the fibres in GOTS certified organic cotton baby clothes mean that no plastics are included in the product. No plastics, mean that the skin can breathe and won't be introduced to harmful chemicals that plastic fabrics contain.
Fabrics such as Rayon/Viscose, Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic, Spandex and ordinary cotton contain phthalates and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), formaldehydes, PVC's, or AZO toxic dyes - chemicals that can cause skin, breathing and eye irritations, disrupt your babies endocrine system (nervous and reproductive), and affect their overall health and well-being.
These toxic chemicals found in baby clothes get absorbed through the skin and airways and actually change the way your baby develops and interacts with the world as they grow.
The colour's of your baby's clothes are are important too. Dyes are one of the major sources of toxic chemical exposure, many of which “show carcinogenic and mutagenic activity” and can cause allergic reactions. Reputable brands will use GOTS certified organic cotton colouring processes which involve using non-toxic, natural dyes to colour their clothes and labels.
When choosing clothes that are safe for your baby, look at the labels. If they say "wrinkle free" it means there is formaldehyde in them. Inhaling formaldehyde has been linked to asthma, nausea and cancer, whilst wearing clothes with formaldehyde is more commonly associated with dermatitis, which tends to affect those already allergic to the chemical. Things to look out for with dermatitis include rashes, blisters, and itchy, dry skin and if they get too bad, your child will need to manage it for the rest of their life.
When buying baby clothes, read the labels carefully and see if the clothes have the phrase "organic cotton included". This will mean that there may be other harmful fibres in the clothes that are hidden in the fineprint. It may have organic cotton within the clothing, but may also have polyester, rayon, acrylic and toxic dyes as well. Choose only clothing with the GOTS Certified organic cotton label so that you know what is in your baby's clothes.
Give your baby the best start to life and don't worry about eczema or buy expensive creams to fix their skin irritations. Start pure and simple with GOTS certified organics for your baby.
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