Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tip 09: 10 Days of Non-Toxic Living in 2016

Welcome to tip 9 of our 10 Days of Non-Toxic Living in 2016!

Last time, with Tip 08, we explained why making your own cleaning products is not only ridiculously easy, but is the best way to make sure you don't expose your family to a long list of harmful chemicals commonly found in unregulated cleaning products (no cleaning product is regulated or tested for safety by anyone)

  TIP 9:  
AVOID buing wrinkle resistant bed sheets and clothing

Do your eyes light up when you find a shirt for yourself or your hubby that reads 'iron free' or 'wrinkle free'? 

Do you seek out those "easy care"  bed  linens that come out of the dryer looking so much neater than
the wrinkled mess the normal linens do? Yes! One less thing to iron! .... But did you know that anti wrinkle finish comes from a resin that releases formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde?   In your clothes?  In your children's bed linens?

 What is formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that is classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

For iron free textiles, Formaldehyde basically keeps the fabric’s fibers in place after being placed in a washing machine. Without it, the fibers would become wrinkled or the creases would fade.

Additionally, the chemical is frequently used to prevent mildew during shipping.

 Can it affect my children?
 For most of the population the, admittedly, low levels of formaldehyde that are found in clothes will result in no visible health effects.

 For some children and adults with sensitive skin, however, it could result in contact dermatitis ( itchy skin, rashes and blisters) . In fact, an estimated 1.2 to 2.3 per cent of USA eczema sufferers have dermatitis caused by textile formaldehyde resin.

 What is important to point out, as is the case with most chemicals, is that the cumulative effects of being exposed to this formaldehyde in small doses (in clothes, on our bed linens, on our rugs, furniture, hair straighteners etc ) have not been studied. Babies sleep an average of up to 18 hours a day, kids 10-12 hours and adults - well on a good night 7-9 hours…. its a lot of hours to be breathing in even tiny amounts of any chemical

Plus, considering that it is classification as a human carcinogen, the potential long term cumulative effects could be serious.

 How to reduce your family's exposure to formaldehyde in clothing

  1.   Avoid buying 'iron free ' or ' easy care' clothing or linens. Yes, this might mean some extra time ironing (although if you take the shirts out of the dryer quickly you can sometimes avoid having to iron them.... or at the very least save time ironing), but avoiding daily exposure to formaldehyde could be worth it!
  2. Wash your clothes and linens before using them for the first time... while not all of the formaldehyde will wash off, some will. Wash ALL clothes and linens, not just the ones labelled as 'iron free', since formaldehyde is also used as a disinfectant before shipping and used to help clothes in stores look crisp.
  3. Buy organic. I make an effort, especially when my son was a newborn, to buy organic pajamas.  I figured that pajamas are a good start since it is the one piece of clothing our kids spend the most time in. Ditto for crib and mattress sheets.

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