My journey to better health has been a slow and steady process. I’ve always taken the long way around, so it’s no surprise my path to an organic home followed the same course. If you’d have told me 10 years ago I’d be starting a business selling natural, sustainable and organic bedding and home goods, I would have looked at you like you were one of the Dixie Chicks strolling through downtown Lubbock, Texas. Then I would have asked you to take me for a hamburger and fried mozzarella sticks at Spanky’s. (I’m now a hybrid vegan…but that’s a whole other post.)
I grew up in the south where sweet iced tea was king. I loved it but I knew sugar was terrible so I used fake sweetener instead. I heard people talk about the chemical substance causing cancer. Hogwash, I'd say. Nothing in small quantities can hurt you! Now here I am writing a blog about chemicals in bedding, and promoting organic linens.
We spend so many hours of our lives in bed. If you are anything like me, there’s no better place in the world than my own bed. It’s a safe haven during difficult times, a warm escape during frigid nights, and a place to cuddle up and love the person(s) you admire most. It’s the place you snuggle into, wrapping yourself and burying your face in the softness. But do you realize how many toxins go into those linens? Have you thought of the effect on workers and the environment? I sure didn’t.
Here’s what I’ve learned, and why you should consider switching to healthier bedding:
- Toxins: Most sheets are made out of cotton and polyester blends. Cotton is one of the most heavily chemically treated crops in the world. According to the Pesticide Action Network, close to $2.6 billion worth of pesticides is sprayed on cotton fields every single year. There’s also the fact that you are likely sleeping on blends that use formaldehyde, a substance that causes skin irritations, and is linked to an increased risk of cancer. It is regulated in many other countries, but not the U.S nor China where so many of our clothes come from these days.
- Your Body on Toxins: Imagine yourself in your bed. Your covers are up to your nose, head perfectly supported by your pillow, while other pillows support your body. Take a deep breath in. Feel the sheets envelop your whole body. Now, think about those toxins mentioned above. Our skin is the largest organ of the body that eliminates and absorbs. Do you suffer from allergies? Skin problems? Do you see where those might be coming from? The place you spend so much time could be the culprit. Switching to organic sheets might just make a big difference in your daily comfort and well-being.
- Farmers and Workers: A 2002 study in California showed that cotton placed third for total number of pesticide related illness in workers. That doesn’t include other accidents that happen - workers accidentally sprayed with these pesticides that are known to be highly toxic. I don’t know about you, but it’s always worried me to think of the people that grow our crops wearing protective gear. If these pesticides are making our workers ill, imagine the effects the products have on us on a daily basis.
- The Environment: All of the pesticide run off must go somewhere, especially when substantial rains pop up after application. Runoff from the cotton fields often ends up in streams and rivers, killing thousands and thousands of fish and other wildlife. Birds are effected when they land in the area of the treated crops. And what about all of those important insects that keep our ecosystems going? You got it, they are casualties as well.
As a society, we’re starting to realize the effects of chemicals in our foods and common products. Our bedding, the place we spend so much time, should be at the top of our list also.