Friday, 9 December 2011

The clothes we wear

For a long time now I have wanted to write something about clothing. Wearing clothes is so obvious to us that we hardly think about it. Well of course we think about how we look and whether we're warm or cool enough, but how often do we really give a thought to what our clothing actually is made of? Acrylic fiber, for example, is something so complicated that I didn't understand any of the descriptions offered by Wikipedia. Same thing with polyester. No wonder these textiles don't feel good on the skin when they're so unnatural. Especially in the winter, synthetic fibres become static and make your hair stand up straight, and they're not even warm. Natural fibres are much more pleasant on the skin, and much more practical too.

Cotton is probably the most common material used for clothing and other everyday products such as sheets, towels, tampons, nappies etc. And even though this is a natural plant it's not so simple, because the word 'natural' lost its meaning long ago. Cotton fields only take up 3% of the world's farmland, but they are sprayed with 25% of the world's pesticides and herbicides, including some of the most toxic ones. This might be 'allowed' because cotton is not directly consumed as a food, but our skin absorbs stuff just like any other organs do. Imagine that you're probably sleeping in sheets full of toxins, rubbing your skin against them every night. And it's not just our outer skin, imagine the amount of pesticides absorbed from tampons.. In fact, we even eat cotton, through cottonseeds and cottonseed oil which is used in some processed foods and as feed for cows, entering our bodies through non-organic meat and dairy. Pesticides are not the only danger however, but dyes can be extremely toxic too, containing cancer-producing chemicals. Have you ever noticed how new jeans colour off on your skin? That's not such a good thing because the skin is just the gateway to the bloodstream and the rest of your body, including the brain. As if this wasn't enough, the biggest threat to 'natural' cotton is perhaps genetic engineering. Most cotton-production is owned by a Monsanto monopoly that pushes GE cotton as a 'green alternative'. The truth is, these plants have been genetically modified in a way that they either emit their own pesticide, or are resistant to mega-doses of pesticides. The problem with this is that other plants too become resistant to pesticides, resulting in a never-ending need of new ever more toxic pesticides. This is a real threat to organic cotton, as the GMO cotton crops spread with the wind and can settle in organic fields. If Monsanto inspectors then find these GMOs in an organic field they can basically fine the farmer for growing Monsanto-owned crops illegally. The farmer is then faced with the option to either pay Monsanto huge sums of money or to start growing the GMO plants and basically being owned by Monsanto. The 'cotton suicides' happening in India are a result of this. Basically, whenever you buy cotton that is not 100% organic, you can be pretty sure you're supporting Monsanto. And even if the cotton is organic, the dyes probably aren't.. If you care about these things, it might prove quite a challenge to go shopping, but I have as a rule to always wash everything I buy before I start using it, especially if it's not organic. It's good to wash them separately from old clothes the first time, in order not to contaminate the rest of your clothes. And also, an extra rinse programme can be used at the end. And this process should probably be repeated..a few times. And it probably still doesn't remove all the toxins. Plus you're still supporting Monsanto (unless you buy organic).. My answer: buy second-hand.

More cotton information:

In addition to cotton, there are of course other fabrics that are also natural and much easier to find in a non GMO-version. In the summer I love to use linen and hemp because of their coolness. And wool is of course an obvious choice in the winter. And silk is an incredibly pleasant fabric, and it looks very elegant too.

Here's a blog about organic clothing.

If you want to know more about Monsanto:

and a documentary film.

I hope you find what's important for you, and start manifesting it in your life.

Lots of love,


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