As an adult, you can absorb up to 60% of what you apply to your skin, and for kids, this percentage is much higher. The absorption rate of children’s skin tends to be 40 to 50% higher than adults.
And once a substance passes through any of the 5 million pores on your skin (20,000 on your face alone), it can enter your lymphatic system and bloodstream and travel to your organs.
If it’s a healthy substance, that can be a good thing. However, for the more than 80,000 chemicals permitted in the U.S. that have never been fully studied for their potentially toxic effects on human health and the environment, this is bad news.
Two everyday sources of potentially dangerous chemicals that many people don’t tend to think about are their bed sheets and bath towels.
You spend about one-third of your life with your body and face in direct contact with your sheets and pillowcases. And after each shower, you dry your entire body with your towel.
What many people don’t realize is... permanently imbedded deep within the fiber of their sheets and towels may be a mix of chemicals that have either been proven to be potentially harmful to human health or have not been fully evaluated for their safety.
These chemicals typically don’t wash out, which means they can remain on the surface and inside the fibers in your towels and sheets. In addition, they can give off gas vapors and release microscopic particles with use, putting you at risk of absorbing them through your skin or inhaling them as you sleep.
You don’t need to expose yourself to this type of unnecessary risk. With today’s stylish alternatives, you can have big, soft and comfy bath towels and satiny-smooth sheets that don’t sacrifice your health or your wallet.
Why You Should Go Organic With Your Linens and Towels
Why should you care about organic sheets and towels? The reasons are important for you, and they’re important on a much larger scale, too.
One of the key reasons why organic sheets and towels matter is because of what they don’t contain – residues of some of the most potentially hazardous insecticides in the world.
Take Aldicarb, cotton’s second best-selling insecticide, for example... A single drop can kill a human if absorbed through the skin.
When you sleep on sheets and dry yourself with towels that contain residues of this and other insecticides, they can pass through your skin or enter your lungs and bioaccumulate within your body.
But that’s not all...
Farmers have to work with these chemicals, and many people live near the fields where the cotton is grown and treated. Aldicarb and other dangerous insecticides seep into the ground and water supply, through which they can travel up the food chain.
You would think that a substance so deadly to humans and threatening to the environment would be banned, right?
Not so... Aldicarb is still used in 25 countries, including the U.S., where 16 states have reported it in their ground water.
Unfortunately, Aldicarb is just one substance you need to be concerned about. From seed through harvest, and during the production of cotton into sheets and towels, there are plenty more.
Bioengineered Cotton Seeds and What They Mean for Your Sheets and Towels
Many people don’t realize that cotton is a heavily bioengineered crop — and that often equates to more pesticides.
In 2000, about 62% of all conventional cotton in the U.S. was grown from genetically engineered seeds.
Today, that number has risen to 94%.
Genetically engineered (GE) cotton is grown in 16 different countries around the world, but mostly in India, China, Pakistan and the U.S.
There are two types of GE cotton:
- Cotton engineered to be resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, so more glyphosate weed killer can be applied
- Cotton engineered with a bacterial gene called “Bt” to produce its own toxin to kill one of its primary pests, the bollworm
Bottom line, neither option is a healthy one for humans as both types of cotton end up requiring large quantities of insecticides and herbicides.
One Indian Cotton Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes – What’s Going On?
Bt cotton – the type that produces its own deadly toxin – was introduced in India by Monsanto in 2002. With its introduction, cotton farmers were promised they would be able to use less pesticides and their yields and farm income would both increase.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in the long run. Government data shows 11,772 farmers committed suicide in 2013 — which adds up to 44 deaths every day. And many of those were cotton farmers.
Why? Along with unmet promises, unseasonal rain and hail took their toll on crops one year. But a much darker reason has emerged for the continuing desperation, especially during more recent bumper crop years.
With Bt cotton, secondary pests have emerged, forcing farmers to use much greater amounts of costly pesticides — as much as 13 times more.
The price of cotton seed has risen, 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. Milk production declined. Serious reproductive failures surfaced. Workers fell ill.
As if conditions weren’t dire enough, cotton prices have taken a steep drop. There is, however, a bright side emerging... A group of farmers have slowly begun switching over to growing organic cotton.
These farmers are finding that organic cotton is not only better for the health of their workers and animals but also guarantees them a minimum price for their harvest.
8 Startling Facts to Know About Cotton Production
Here are some eye-opening facts about conventionally grown cotton:
- 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 dangerous 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.
- 400 gallons of water are needed to make a single t-shirt, robbing that water from already-drought-threatened rivers and lakes.
- Half of the $2 billion spent on chemicals each year to spray on cotton crops around the globe is classified as “hazardous” by the World Health Organization (WHO). The nine most common pesticides are “highly toxic,” and five are considered probable carcinogens.
- The cotton industry is also the highest user of glyphosate, one of the “probable” human carcinogens declared by the WHO.
- The production of Monsanto’s genetically engineered cotton isn’t limited to cotton fiber. Approximately 60% of the cotton plant is used to produce other products for humans and animals including foods. Not surprising, the GE cottonseed oil used to produce the food contains traces of pesticides used in the farming.
- 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 of cotton's natural resistance to dyes, about half of the chemicals used as dyes or fixers end up as waste in rivers and soil.
We haven’t even mentioned 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.
And here’s a troubling development: With insects developing greater resistance to current levels of pesticides, farmers are increasingly forced to apply even larger amounts for effective control.
By supporting the production of organic cotton, you’re supporting more than just a fiber. You’re also voting for healthier food and feed.
The Uninvited Guest You Can’t See
If any of these terms apply to your sheets and towels, it’s very likely they’ve been treated or "finished" with formaldehyde:
- Polyester/cotton or percale blend
- "Wrinkle-resistant" 100% cotton
- Permanent press
Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC), and like some pesticides, is a "probable" human carcinogen, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Cancer Institute (NCI).
In large enough amounts, formaldehyde 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.
Before you assume you can wash formaldehyde out of your sheets, consider this: What good would "wrinkle-free" fabric be if its treatment washed away? Manufacturers design it to stay locked within the fabric.
At least one study confirms this, too. After two washings of a cotton garment, there was no significant reduction in the amount of formaldehyde contained within its fibers.
And your towels most likely aren’t much better…
A few years back, China’s Consumer Foundation conducted a study to see what types of chemicals were present in bath towels.
The foundation purchased 23 cotton bath towels of different brands. Testing for the presence of chemicals, they found:
- Two-thirds, or 66%, of the towels contained fluorescent agents, which are potential skin irritants.
- Over half, or 53%, contained formaldehyde.
You might be wondering... Why would they add these potentially dangerous chemicals to towels?
It’s simple marketing: Fluorescent agents help make towels look brighter and more colorful. Formaldehyde is often added to make towels resistant to shrinkage.
Organic Cotton – Better for You, Farmers and the Environment
Organic cotton is the purest form of cotton, grown without dangerous pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, harsh chemicals, fertilizers, defoliants, sewage sludge and genetically engineered seeds.
Organic-certified farmers grow organic cotton with the help of natural fertilizers, beneficial insects and innovative weeding techniques. These systems replenish and maintain soil fertility while enhancing biodiversity to protect air and water.
As you can see in the diagram below, the systems used in producing organic cotton are better for farmers, the soil, water supplies as well as animals and insects.
Other important facts about organic cotton include:
- Its non-GE seeds haven’t been treated with fungicides or pesticides.
- No harsh chemicals or synthetic fertilizers are used.
- It reduces environmental footprint by using 71% less water and 62% less energy.
- Plants are 80% rain-fed, reducing reliance on local water sources.
- It reduces field emissions from fertilizer as well as nitrogen and phosphorus deposits into water.
- The increased soil protection helps prevent erosion.
- It promotes safe work and better livelihoods for farmers.
When you buy organic cotton, you are supporting cleaner air, water conservation efforts, improved soils and a better life for farmers.
Why There’s No Going Back Once You’ve Experienced Certified Organic Cotton
You can feel the difference with organic cotton. It:
- Feels soft and comfortable next to your skin.
- Absorbs and controls moisture.
- Provides warmth and comfort.
- Keeps you cool by pulling heat away from your skin.
- Prevents moisture from building up between your skin and your clothes.
- Allows air to flow easily through fibers and, unlike synthetic fibers, permits your skin to “breathe.”
When you choose organic cotton sheets and towels, you often get better value for your money. Organic cotton has high tensile strength which becomes 30% stronger when wet, allowing it to withstand repeated washings and everyday use.
But how can you be sure what you buy is really organic cotton?
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 conventional cotton’s pesticides, bioengineered ingredients, formaldehyde, chlorine bleaches, heavy metals or other harsh chemicals detrimental to humans and the environment.
When you buy certified organic cotton, you don’t need to wonder if it’s the real deal – GOTS guarantees it.
However, there is an area that you should watch out for even with organic cotton sheets – inflated thread-counts.
Some manufacturers have discovered that by manipulating the sheet production process with lower quality construction or thread, they can artificially inflate the thread count. A higher threat-count sheet does not necessarily mean better quality.
To get the true and complete picture, you need to look at other factors, like fiber length, weave and type of fabric.
Bottom line – A sheet made with certified organic cotton is typically a higher quality sheet, regardless of thread-count. As we saw earlier, the higher tensile strength of organic cotton fiber allows it to hold up better with repeated washings and regular use.
SITO – Real GOTS-Certified Organic Cotton
Sito, also known as Demeter in ancient Greek religion and mythology, was 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 what we wish to accomplish with organic cotton and promoting regenerative agriculture and fertile soils around the world, we’ve named our Organic Cotton line SITO:
Because of its very limited supply, American-grown organic cotton is more than twice the cost of organic cotton from India. That’s why we source our SITO GOTS-Certified Organic Cotton from India to keep the cost affordable for you.
What Dreams Are Made of – Certified Organic Cotton Linens & Towels
The ideal bed sheet is one that can give you years of comfortable, durable use without excessive pilling.
Conveniently available multiple colors, including White, Off-White, Gray, Sky and Mushroom, our SITO Organic Cotton Sheets and Pillowcase Sets were created with your comfort in mind. Using ring-spun (versus open-end) compact yarns ensures there are fewer short fibers on the surface that can contribute to pilling.
These compact yarns are also more durable in terms of fabric strength. This creates the smoothest, softest surface area possible, which also adds more sheen to sateen fabric.
Sateen fabrics, like what we’ve used for our Organic Cotton Sheets and Pillowcase Sets, are usually a little thicker and more tightly woven to create a luminous sheen and silky, smooth surface.
Meeting all the requirements for a high-quality sheet, Our Organic Cotton Sheets are Certified Organic cotton, a tight sateen weave, longer fibers and a true 300-thread-count.
To complete your SITO Organic Cotton Bedding options, our Organic Knitted Cotton Throw measures a generous 50” x 60” and comes in your 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 an Oat and Mushroom pattern.
When it comes to towels, there’s nothing like stepping out of the shower and wrapping yourself in certified organic luxury.
But have you ever experienced a plush towel that just doesn’t seem to get you dry?
To solve the problem of “all plush but not much absorbency,” our SITO Organic Cotton Bath Linens are crafted using double-yarn pile to form loops, creating more surface area to absorb water.
Unlike high twisted yarns found on some less absorbent towels, our towels feature a low twist to allow each yarn to absorb more water.
You end up with a durable, tidier looking, two-ply towel with enhanced absorbency.
Our Organic Cotton Bath Towel Bundle comes with two Organic Cotton 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 our Organic Cotton Bath Linens are available for individual purchase as well, and come in your choice of White, Off-White, Gray, Sky and Sage.
Our entire SITO Organic Cotton line is free from formaldehyde, heavy metals, acetone, chlorine bleaches, GEs, or potentially dangerous and harsh chemicals. And that’s guaranteed by GOTS.
Lasting Color Without the Potentially Dangerous Chemicals
Our SITO Organic Cotton Linens & Towels are dyed using low-impact and fiber-reactive dyes for great 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, 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.
Fiber-reactive dyes are low-impact dyes that bond directly with the fibers.
The benefits of using low-impact and fiber-reactive dyes include:
- No use of heavy metals, formaldehyde, GEs, chlorine bleaches, acetone or other potentially dangerous substances.
- Colors that are brighter, richer and wash well.
- An environmentally friendly product that creates less wastewater runoff 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 cost.
Are You Ready to Step Up to Certified Organic Cotton?
You’ve made the commitment to eat healthier foods. Now it’s time to take a closer look at how you can live the rest of your life healthier.
You spend a third of your life in direct contact with your bed sheets and bath towels. Don’t you and your loved ones deserve the added benefits and security of organic cotton?
Studies have confirmed that the risks are there, but you don’t need to take them, especially when there are now far cleaner, more affordable and stylish options.
When you choose organic cotton, you’re not only providing a healthier option for your family – you’re doing much more than that. You’re helping to support small, independently owned and operated family farms that are trying to do the right thing for their families, workers and land.
With organic cotton, you’re supporting a cleaner, healthier world that benefits the environment and its inhabitants, including animals and insects. Choosing low-impact dyed organic cotton sheets and towels may cost a few cents more, but aren’t you and your health worth it?
Order your Organic Cotton Linens & Towels today, and experience the difference.