What is “Organic” Clothing?
…and why should you care?
Well, this is a tough one to answer, because regulation and certification by government entities around the world have been a bit slow to respond to demand in the marketplace for organic clothing. There is some good news however; for those wanting to learn about what organic clothing means, and why they should care.
First, you should care because organic clothing is sustainable, with a smaller impact on the environment during the growing and production processes. Plus, organic crops are grown without the use of harmful pesticides, making organic clothing far safer to wear for people with sensitive skin – including babies, whose skin is more porous than adults – making them vulnerable to anything harmful that remains in the fabric after production.
Organic Labeling Standards
Labeling requirements for organic foods are ahead of those for organic clothing. Because of this, buying organic cotton clothing makes a great deal of sense. You see, “there are USDA standards for certifying cotton plants and the cotton fibers that they produce as being organic because cotton seeds and cotton oils are also important food products. Anything that is sold as “USDA Organic” must contain 95% organic ingredients, produced without conventional fertilizers or synthetic pesticides and use sustainable and environmentally-friendly agricultural methods.” (OrganicClothing.blogs.com)
In other words, the words “organic” and “certified” are very important when it comes to understanding the differences in the types of “organic clothing” you may see being sold.
- Organic – Here is where you should exercise the most caution as this is often a marketing tool, instead of proof of the organic nature of the product you're thinking of buying.
- Certified Organic – For any product sold in the U.S., regardless of where it was grown or produced, to carry the USDA Organic logo, it be at least 95% organic, and must have been inspected by a certified agent of the USDA Organic Certification Program.
- 100% Organic – Raw or processed agricultural products in this category must meet these criteria: All ingredients must be certified organic. Any processing aids must be organic. Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.
Click here for more on the Organic Standards for growing and labeling products, as set by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Ultimately, the responsibility for finding and buying 100% organic clothing rests with you, despite the often confusing organic labeling standards as a parent and consumer of clothing for your family.