Did you know that your skin absorbs up to 60% of substances it comes into contact with?
For children, the number is even higher. Their skin absorbs about 40% to 50% more than that of adults.
Once a substance passes through any of the five million pores on your skin (20,000 on your face alone), it enters your lymphatic system and bloodstream, and travels to your organs.
If it’s a healthy substance, that can be a good thing. However, it’s not so ideal if it’s one of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in the U.S. alone that have never been fully studied for their potentially toxic effects on human health and the environment.
Every day, you come into contact with potentially hazardous substances just through your normal routine.
You spend about one-third of your life with your body and face in direct contact with your sheets and pillowcases. And every time you wash your hands or face, or take a bath or shower, you dry off with a towel.
What many people don’t realize is a mix of chemicals that may potentially be harmful to health – or have not been fully evaluated for their safety – may be permanently imbedded deep within the fibers of their sheets and towels.
And these toxic substances typically don’t wash out, which means they can remain on the surface and inside the fibers.
They can give off gas vapors and release microscopic particles every time you use them, putting you at risk of absorbing them through your skin or inhaling them as you sleep.
However, you have another option. You can have affordable and stylish options that don’t put your health at risk. You can have soft, thick bath towels and wash cloths, and satiny-smooth cotton bed linens that won’t sacrifice your health or your wallet, as you’ll soon see.
Is This “Probable” Human Carcinogen Lurking in Your Sheets and Towels?
If any of the following common words appear on the labels (or packaging, if new) of your sheets and towels, it’s very likely they’ve been treated or finished with formaldehyde – a resin that releases a “probable” human carcinogen that closely resembles embalming fluid:
- Polyester/cotton or percale blend
- Wrinkle-resistant 100% cotton
- Permanent press
Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC), and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Cancer Institute (NCI), it’s a "probable" human carcinogen.
But cancer isn’t the only risk formaldehyde presents. In large enough amounts, it can cause other problems, too.
Slowly releasing formaldehyde vapors can cause headaches, itching or burning eyes and nose, rashes, breathing difficulties, coughing, sore throat, joint pains, nausea, fatigue and restless sleep.
Here’s the worst part… Formaldehyde can’t be washed out. After all, what good would "wrinkle-free" fabric be if its treatment washed away? Manufacturers design formaldehyde to stay locked within the fabric.
Studies confirm this, too. In one study, after two washings of a cotton garment, there was no significant reduction in the amount of formaldehyde contained within its fibers.
China’s Consumer Foundation also conducted a study to see what types of chemicals may be present in bath towels.
Testing 23 cotton bath towels of different brands, they found two-thirds, or 66%, of the towels contained fluorescent agents, or brightening agents, which are potential skin irritants. Over half, or 53%, contained formaldehyde, which is also used to make towels less likely to shrink when washed.
Why do manufacturers add these chemicals, fully knowing they present a potential hazard to health?
Because they hope you will buy their brighter, more colorful products.
7 Things You May Not Know About Cotton That Can Harm You
Cotton has become the world’s most important non-food crop in the world. The industry employs nearly 7% of the labor force in developing countries and provides income for more than 250 million people.
Yet, the conventional cotton industry is fraught with serious issues – for both health and the environment:
Cotton farming takes up only about 3% of the total farmland around the world, but consumes 25% of the world’s chemical pesticides and fertilizers (and at least 10% of the most hazardous ones).
Each of the 13 million acres of cotton harvested every year in the U.S. is sprayed with an average of 13 lbs. of carcinogenic pesticides, herbicides and defoliants (a third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is needed to produce the cotton needed for just one t-shirt).
Half of the $2 billion spent on chemicals each year for cotton crops around the globe is classified as “hazardous” by the World Health Organization (WHO).
93% of the cotton grown today in the U.S. is genetically engineered, or GMO cotton.
The GMO cotton industry is the highest user of glyphosate, a “probable” human carcinogen classified by the WHO.
Approximately 60% of the GMO cotton plant is used to produce other products for humans and animals, including foods such as genetically engineered cottonseed that can contain traces of pesticides, such as glyphosate.
Cotton production is water-intensive – 400 gallons of water are needed to make a single T-shirt, robbing that water from rivers and lakes in communities already threatened by drought conditions.
The overuse of pesticides by farmers has led to pesticide resistance, the destruction of beneficial insects and secondary pest outbreaks, which require the use of even more pesticides.
Chemicals are used throughout the process of producing towels and sheets. After cotton is harvested, chemicals are used to process the cotton into cloth. Because cotton is naturally resistant to dyes, about half of the chemicals used as dyes or fixers end up as waste in rivers and soil.
Then, there are the billions of pounds of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers used for cultivating cotton. The runoff from these fertilizers can create aquatic "dead zones" in waterways, killing off species of aquatic life.
India’s Unique Cotton-Growing Dilemma
GMO cotton is grown in 16 different countries around the world, but mostly in India, China, Pakistan and the U.S.
India is the second largest exporter of cotton in the world, with over 50% of the population depending on agriculture for income.
‘Bt’ cotton, a type of genetically engineered cotton that produces its own deadly toxin to kill one of its primary pests, the bollworm, was introduced in India by Monsanto in 2002. At least 80% of cotton grown today in each of the nine cotton-producing states of India is Bt cotton.
With the introduction of Bt cotton, Monsanto promised cotton farmers that they would be able to use less pesticides and their yields and income would increase.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. With Bt cotton, secondary pests have emerged, forcing farmers to use much greater amounts of costly pesticides — as much as 13 times more.
And now the price of cotton seed continues to rise, and farmers are no longer able to buy seed that isn’t genetically engineered. Bt cotton seed costs 4 to 10 times more than conventional hybrid seed, and farmers are forced to buy new seed every year.
That’s not all… Increasingly, farmers began losing livestock to illness and death after they grazed in Bt cotton fields, which contributed to a decline in milk production. Other serious reproductive failures surfaced, and workers began to fall ill.
Many cotton farmers have gone into serious debt from loans they were forced to take on. Nearly 400,000 farmers – many of them cotton farmers – have committed suicide between 1995 and 2018, translating into 48 farmer suicides every day in India.
Natural causes have taken their toll, too, on the well-being of India’s farmers. Unreliable markets, periods of unseasonal rain and hail, and unpredictable crops have made the going rough for Indian cotton farmers.
Finally, unsustainable conventional farming practices have led to serious productivity issues due to soil degradation.
In recent years, a bright side has emerged. Farmers are discovering there’s a better way and have slowly begun switching over to growing organic cotton. They’re finding it is not only better for the health of their workers and animals but also guarantees them a minimum price for their harvest.
Biodynamic® Cotton – Think Organic but Better
While organic cotton is a significant improvement over conventional cotton farming, Biodynamic® is even better. What is “biodynamic” cotton?
Known as the original regenerative agriculture, which focuses on restoring our degraded soils, biodynamics is the holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming.
Certified by Demeter, biodynamic agriculture is a step above organic, considering the prosperity of entire farm instead of individual crops and products. It requires the use of holistic regenerative farming practices to promote the health of the soil, crops and livestock.
Biodynamic includes everything that is Certified Organic and beyond. For example, the production of Certified Organic cotton…
Prohibits the use of toxic chemicals.
Does not allow synthetic pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
Requires the use of natural composts and manures instead of chemical fertilizers.
Prohibits the use of GMO seeds and growth-promoting hormones.
Requires crop rotation to minimize effects of monoculture (the farming of a single crop) and to maintain soil health.
Now, let’s add the requirements for Demeter Certified Biodynamic® to this list…
Everything used on the farm is recycled back into the land.
Livestock supply the fertility for the farm, and all the feed for the livestock is grown on the farm.
To provide biodiversity, at least 10% of the land must be reserved for other organisms.
Farmers must observe the lunar calendar to sync cultivation with plant cycles and moon phases.
Preparations of herbal composts and manures are required.
It uses spray-free, holistic pest and disease control, meaning it prohibits any and all use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones and GMOs by encouraging balanced predator-prey relationships the way nature intended.
All of these principles form the foundation for biodynamic farming.
The Journey from Conventional to Biodynamic Cotton
Converting over to biodynamic from conventional cotton farming requires both time and effort. Farmers must abandon old toxic, harmful practices and learn new methods to grow and harvest cotton.
“In-conversion” is the term used for farms in the transitional period from conventional farming to biodynamic practices, typically a three-year commitment.
During this conversion period, farmers…
Focus on remineralizing the soil and growing cover crops.
Start using natural fertilizers instead of synthetic fertilizers and GMO seeds.
Receive training on regenerative methodologies and principles.
Implement all the practices required to achieve organic certification.
Are audited annually by certification bodies as per international organic agriculture standards.
By leaving the land in better shape than they found it, farmers are increasingly recognizing that protecting – and improving – soil health can be one of the greatest solutions to climate change.
There’s No Going Back Once You’ve Experienced In-Conversion Biodynamic® Cotton
You can feel the difference. When you choose in-conversion biodynamic cotton sheets and towels, you receive better value for your money. In-conversion biodynamic cotton has high-tensile strength that becomes 30% stronger when wet, allowing it to withstand repeated washings and everyday use.
Beyond the in-conversion biodynamic seal, how can you be sure that you’re getting high-quality, organic cotton? Look for the GOTS certification logo…
Just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets standards for organic food, Global Organic Textile Standards, or GOTS, provides third-party certification for the organic textile industry.
GOTS-certified textiles must be produced without the pesticides, heavy metals, bioengineered ingredients, formaldehyde, chlorine bleach and other harsh, harmful chemicals used with conventional cotton.
How about thread count? How important is that when choosing sheets?
Some people believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality. This isn’t necessarily true. A higher thread count does not automatically translate into higher quality.
Don’t fall for the thread count game… Even some manufacturers of organic sheets have discovered they can artificially inflate the thread count simply by manipulating the sheet production process with lower quality construction or thread.
To get the true and complete picture, you need to look at other factors, like fiber length, weave and type of fabric.
A sheet made with in-conversion biodynamic cotton is typically a higher quality sheet, regardless of thread count. As we saw earlier, longer fibers and higher tensile strength of cotton allows it to hold up better with repeated washings and regular use.
The First-Ever GOTS-Certified Sito® In-Conversion Biodynamic® Linens and Towels for the Ultimate in Clean Comfort
Sito, also known as Demeter in Ancient Greek religion and mythology, was honored as the goddess of the harvest and agriculture.
According to Greek mythology, Sito presided over the fertility of the earth, the sacred law and the cycle of life and death.
In honor of our commitment to regenerative agriculture and fertile soils around the globe, we have named our line of cotton textiles Sito® – the first to offer in-conversion biodynamic cotton.
Every time you make a purchase from our clothing, bedding or towel lines, you’ll know you’re taking a stand for in-conversion biodynamic cotton and regenerative agriculture.
From Field to Fabric: 6 Steps to Our In-Conversion Biodynamic Cotton Textiles
Now you can embrace sustainable living with our line of GOTS-certified, In-Conversion Biodynamic® organic cotton sheets, pillowcases, towels, wash cloths and bath mats.
From farm to finished goods, our transparent manufacturing process speaks to the fine quality of our Sito® In-Conversion Biodynamic® textiles:
Extra-long cotton fibers grown from specially selected seeds are hand harvested in South India by biodynamic farmers, 50% of which are women.
The cotton is ginned, cleaned and compressed into bales for ease of handling and protection from contamination (60% of the cotton plant goes back into the food stream for dairy cows and cotton seed oil).
The longer, tensile-strength fibers are carefully spun into yarn and woven into luxurious fabric on spinning machines in GOTS-certified factories. These longer fibers allow the cotton to be spun into a durable single-ply thread that can be woven into a softer, finer fabric with less pilling.
100% pure cotton fabric is dyed in a natural, neutral palette using nontoxic, sustainable, low impact dye for vibrant, long-lasting color.
Made locally in Southern Tamil Nadu, India, these single-origin textiles are cut and sewn into beautiful Sito® In-Conversion Biodynamic® textiles that are as strong as they are soft.
After manufacturing, a natural, environmentally friendly, a GOTS-approved enzyme echo-wash is used to pre-shrink the finished product and to give it a luxuriously soft feel.
Turn to Comfort Without Compromise with In-Conversion Biodynamic® Cotton Sheets
The ideal bed sheet is one that can give you years of comfortable, durable use without excessive pilling.
Made with integrity from Demeter Certified In-Conversion Biodynamic® farms in India, our one-of-a-kind Sito® Cotton Sheets and Pillowcases are soft to the touch, lightweight for breathability and, most importantly, free of any harmful chemicals.
These bed linens are made from a special breed of cotton seed that results in extra-long staples – 33 mm to be exact.
These longer staple lengths of specially chosen in-conversion biodynamic cotton fibers make it possible for the spinner to spin better compact yarns. These compact yarns are more durable in terms of fabric strength and have a better pilling rating.
To reduce pilling, our sheets are made from yarns that are ring spun (versus open end) compact yarns, so there are fewer short fibers on the surface. This technique helps yarns to have the smoothest softest surface possible, which also adds more sheen to satin fabric.
Satin fabrics, like what we’ve used for our Sito® In-Conversion Biodynamic® Cotton Sheets and Pillowcases, are usually a little thicker and more tightly woven to create a luminous sheen and silky-smooth surface.
Our Sito® In-Conversion® Biodynamic Cotton Sheets meet all the requirements for a high-quality sheet: certified organic cotton, a tight satin weave, longer fibers and a true 300-thread-count. Sheets and pillowcases are available in White, Off-White, Gray, Sky and Mushroom colors.
To complete your Sito® Bedding options, our Organic Knitted Cotton Throw measures a generous 50” x 60” and comes in color choices of Oat and Lake.
In addition, our Organic Cotton Duvet and Sham Sets are available in both Queen/Full and King sizes, and come in the color Mushroom with Oak border.
In-Conversion Biodynamic® Cotton Towels and Bath Mats
When it comes to towels, there’s nothing like stepping out of the shower and wrapping yourself in a luxuriously fluffy towel.
That said, have you ever noticed that some super-plush towels just don’t seem to absorb water very well?
To solve the problem of “all plush but not much absorbency,” our GOTS-certified Sito® Bath Towels, Hand Towels and Wash Cloths are crafted from a special breed of cotton that produces extra-long 30 mm staples.
Unlike high-twisted yarns found on some less absorbent towels, our towels use a low-twisted, double-yarn pile to form loops to give each yarn more surface area to absorb water.
You end up with a durable, tidier looking, two-ply towel with enhanced absorbency.
Our In-Conversion Biodynamic® Cotton Bath Towel Bundle comes with two Bath Towels, Hand Towels and Wash Cloths in your choice of five colors: White, Off-White, Gray, Sky and Sage.
Don’t need a full set? All of our in-conversion biodynamic cotton bath linens will be available for individual order as well.
Complete your bathroom ensemble with our In-Conversion Biodynamic® Cotton Bath Mat, available in the colors Gray, White, Off-White, Sage and Sky.
Embrace sustainable living beyond your bed and bath with a three-pack of our In-Conversion Biodynamic® Cotton Dish Towels, also crafted using double-yarn pile for softness and absorbency.
Our entire in-conversion biodynamic cotton line is free from formaldehyde, GMOs, heavy metals, acetone, chlorine bleaches or other potentially hazardous and harsh chemicals.
Lasting Color Without Risky Chemicals
All our Sito® In-Conversion Biodynamic® Linens and Towels are dyed using low-impact and fiber-reactive dyes for vibrant, long-lasting color at the lowest impact possible.
A low-impact dye is a dye that has been classified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (an international certification process) as eco-friendly. Generally, low-impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals or mordants, which are chemicals that fix the dye to the fabric.
These health- and environmental-friendly dyes require less rinsing and have a high-absorption rate in the fabric, which translates to less wastewater, or color runoff (less than 5%, compared to the typical 55 to 60%).
Fiber-reactive dyes are low-impact dyes that bond directly with the fibers, which results in more vibrant, long-lasting color.
The benefits of using low-impact and fiber-reactive dyes include:
No use of heavy metals, formaldehyde, genetically engineered fibers, chlorine bleaches, acetone or other potentially dangerous substances.
Brighter, richer colors that last and only get better through repeated washings.
Considerably less wastewater runoff for improved water quality and energy savings.
Low-impact dyes cost much more than conventional dyes, but for something your body is exposed to daily, like sheets and towels, we believe it’s worth the extra price.
Feel the Inherent Softness of Cotton and Nothing Else with In-Conversion Biodynamic Cotton
You’ve made the commitment to eat healthier foods. Now, it’s time to use uncompromised textiles for an even healthier you.
Remember, a third of your life is spent in contact with bed linens – imagine how much exposure you’ve experienced already.
When you go with in-conversion biodynamic linens and towels, you can feel confident that you’re protecting your entire family from the many risks of conventional cotton.
And choosing biodynamic not only provides a healthier option for your family, you’ll also be supporting small, family farms that are sacrificing everything they have and built to instead partner with nature for greater change.
With in-conversion biodynamic cotton, you’re supporting a cleaner, healthier world that benefits the environment and its inhabitants, including animals and insects. You’re helping to fight climate change, supporting clean air, water conservation efforts and improved soil health.
Embrace sustainable living, and experience the difference of Sito® cotton textiles – because what touches your skin really does matter. Order your In-Conversion Biodynamic® Linens and Towels today.