It’s September. Start of a new school year… Throughout the whole summer I listened to parents talking about uniforms. I found that when it comes to buying school uniform many parents seem to look for non-iron, stay white and stain resistant fabric to “make life easier”.
My child is starting reception this month. I spent the last couple of years researching toxins in school supplies but did not pay much attention to school uniforms. Therefore, it was a huge shock for me when I first went to the school wear shop to buy her uniform and felt the materials of the polo shirts and cardigans. They were all made of high percentage of synthetic materials. I just couldn’t imagine allowing my child to spend over 30 hours a week wearing cheap polyester, acrylic or polycotton mix. I couldn’t wait to get out of the shop and naively thought that I will easily find cotton polo shirts, pinafores and PE kits elsewhere.
The real challenge started when I went to all the popular high street stores and supermarkets and noticed that they used ‘special technologies’, such as non-iron, stay-new, stormwear, Teflon coated, stay white and stain resistant fabric on most of their uniforms. Only very few were made of 100% cotton and found that even those were treated with nasties.
If you would like to keep your children toxin-free during school hours, these are the fabrics you should avoid:
TOP 6 TOXIC FABRICS TO AVOID
- Polyester is the worst fabric you can buy. It is made from synthetic polymers that are made from esters of dihydric alcohol and terpthalic acid.
- Acrylic fabrics are polycrylonitriles and may cause cancer, according to the EPA.
- Rayon is recycled wood pulp that must be treated with chemicals like caustic soda, ammonia, acetone and sulphuric acid to survive regular washing and wearing.
- Acetate and Triacetate are made from wood fibers called cellulose and undergo extensive chemical processing to produce the finished product.
- Nylon is made from petroleum and is often given a permanent chemical finish that can be harmful.
- Anything static resistant, stain resistant, permanent press, wrinkle-free, stain proof or moth repellant. Many of the stain resistant and wrinkle-free fabrics are treated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), like Teflon.
All stain repellent finishes used in textiles (such as Scotchguard, GoreTex, NanoTex, Crypton, Teflon) are based on fluorotelomer chemistry – which means it pertains to chemicals which become perfluorocarbons (PFCs) when they are released into the environment. PFC’s break down in the body and in the environment to Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) , Perfluorooctanyl sulfate (PFOS) and similar chemicals. These are among the most persistent synthetic chemicals known to man.
The Teflon coated fabric on your child’s uniform likely contains PFCs, and may break down into the common, toxic blood contaminant called PFOA. It it is best to opt out of stain/water/oil repellants whenever possible.
TOXIN-FREE SCHOOL UNIFORM
The good news is that I did manage to find pure, organic and toxin-free uniform for my daughter!
I am delighted to share with you that I found an amazing company that sells these uniforms, called EcoOutfitters. It was set up by two inspirational mums, Marina and Irina. Their uniforms are certified by Global Organic Textile Standard. The Organic cotton used is grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers and harmful pesticides. EcoOutfitters uniforms are ideal for children with eczema and other skin conditions. Their whole range is toxin-free, their fabric is not treated with any nasties such as chlorine bleach, Teflon, formaldehyde, and does not contain any toxic dyes, so less likely to trigger allergies and skin rashes.
EcoOutfitters produce everything from skirts, trousers and pinafores to shirts, PE kit and even socks and tights.
The pinafore is soft, comfortable and very easy to iron. I love the natural detail of the coconut shell buttons. The white cotton socks are lovely and soft and they are a perfect fit.
TIPS FOR A GREEN AND TOXIN-FREE SCHOOL YEAR
- If your child’s school insists on having their logo on synthetic fabric, wash the uniform at least three times before it gets worn to wash out all the chemicals
- Remember to avoid chemical dry-cleaning whenever possible and wash your clothes in a “green”detergent.
- Organic food, pure water, and natural or organic clothing can work together to enhance your children’s wellbeing and help them live a healthier life.
For more information or to purchase these amazing toxin-free uniforms head to ecooutfitters.co.uk