used clothing/blankets vs. new organic ones? + do receiving blankets have flame retardants? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 03-03-2010, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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With our first child due in June, my sister very graciously gave me bags and bags of clothing, receiving blankets and more. Unfortunately, she does not share the same values as dh and I do and nothing is remotely organic or natural. I'm concerned about flame retardants on the receiving blankets - do they even have them? These are all cotton but not organic, and I can live with them not being organic if they don't have flame retardant. Anybody know?

As for the clothing, I know we will never be able to afford clothing our child entirely in organic clothes, so I appreciate having these as back-ups, but from everything I've learned about major companies (carter's, children's place) recalling clothes for lead paint in zippers and snaps, I'm trying to avoid things with those. I'm just not sure how I feel about it all. Is used clothing better than new because it may wash out some of the pesticides and whatnot in the fabric?
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#2 of 18 Old 03-03-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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My thoughts on re-usable kids items (esp clothes): Firstly, blankets do not have flame retardants. AFAIK, that is for pajamas only AND it will say on the label if it has retardants or not.

I am a big fan of re-using kid items (& items in general). While I agree that organic is the best way to go, when you are reusing an item, you are saving a ton of natural resources b/c the item already exists. You are not further contributing to pesticides, de-forestation, slave labor, gas & water usage, etc etc. Even the best organic materials still need to be watered, harvested, & processed. There will always be some sort of waste product or fossil fuel usage somewhere. For me, reusing > new organic > new conventional.

As for snaps, zippers, and buttons, I see nothing wrong w/ not using items where the paint has chipped off. Most of the onesies that we own do not have any paint on the snaps, which are all in the crotch anyway. A baby would not be putting those in his mouth, nor do they touch the skin. I don't think lead is used in the metal, just possibly in the paint (I may be wrong about this, but still feel that it is safe). A lot of clothes w/ zippers and buttons use plastic ones, anyway, so no lead (presumably).

My mom buys most of dds clothes, so we do a lot of Carter's, Old Navy, & Children's Place. We also live in an old house w/ a lead water intake pipe (filter on kitchen faucet). We have v few plastic or junky toys, mostly v safe enviro-friendly natural toys. When dd had her lead levels tested at 12 mos, she was totally fine. IMO, I would take the clothes, use the ones that you think are so cute, and buy whatever else you want. There is nothing wrong in buying some new things to spoil your baby a bit & everything right w/ reusing when you can!

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#3 of 18 Old 03-03-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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Well considering the environmental mantra is Reduce, REUSE and RECYCLE I am not sure what the issue is here.

It is incredibly wasteful to not use clothes and blankets that are perfectly good and safe. Like the PP mentioned I don't care how natural or organic a new blanket or piece of clothing is-it still requires new resources being used.

And since you won't be able to afford all natural stuff anyways I would check that "not sharing the same values" stuff at the door. Seems like she shared a pretty important value with you-generosity.
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#4 of 18 Old 03-03-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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And since you won't be able to afford all natural stuff anyways I would check that "not sharing the same values" stuff at the door. Seems like she shared a pretty important value with you-generosity.
Indeed.

The main reason I choose organic when possible for my family's textiles is not that I am terrified of ZOMG THE TOXINS, it's that conventional cotton farming is extremely hard on the environment.

But even organic* cotton farming and manufacturing uses, just for instance, huge amounts of water. Anything new is, for my values, a worse environmental choice than something that has already served one baby. So my choice is usually reduce, re-use, recycle in that order. Not "buy organic".

*I am pretty suspicious of the "organic" buzzword, particularly in children's textiles. You can find some weird stuff going on with "organic bamboo", for instance: the plants may be grown sustainably, but the way they're processed and milled is not at all what I'd consider enviro-friendly.

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#5 of 18 Old 03-03-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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What Betsy J said - and I'll add that the mania for all things "natural" is it's own form of consumerism.

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#6 of 18 Old 03-03-2010, 09:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dogretro View Post
..... I don't think lead is used in the metal, just possibly in the paint (I may be wrong about this, but still feel that it is safe). A lot of clothes w/ zippers and buttons use plastic ones, anyway, so no lead (presumably)....
Lead is not used in the steel alloys used to make snaps. For steel alloys, lead in used only in a very small number of specialized engineering applications - you won,t find these in the home. The lead recalls that I am aware of were for paint (on red snaps for example) or decorative zipper pulls. see link for an example
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml06/06042.html

With cotton clothing, if pesticides are used in growing they will be removed in the processing of cotton fiber into clothing. Organic cotton is preferred for NEW clothing because of reduced pesticide exposure for farm workers and the environment, not because the end product is any healthier for the kid.

I agree with others:
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reusing > new organic > new conventional
Used clothing is great for babies. Each size is worn for such a short period of time it makes sense to share. Put the money you save into organic milk for Mom.
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#7 of 18 Old 03-03-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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Take'm use'm and don't stress. 95% of my kids clothes are used. We don't have the money for new stuff, let alone new organic stuff, and even if we did, I doubt I'd buy it - I'm just way too frugal to be able to justify paying $15 for *one* kids' shirt.
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#8 of 18 Old 03-04-2010, 04:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by gardenmama76 View Post
Is used clothing better than new because it may wash out some of the pesticides and whatnot in the fabric?
This is anecdotal, but a friend with multiple chemical sensitivity found that used clothing irritated her less than new, but when she eventually noticed the pattern and tried organic, her reactions went away.

That said, I don't sweat this type of exposure, I instead focus on the nutrients we need to excrete the toxins we come in contact with every day. Folate, B12, zinc, selenium, magnesium--actively evaluating your diet now for stuff like this, and seeing if any improvements could be made (if you haven't already) could provide longer-lasting benefits to your LO.
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#9 of 18 Old 03-04-2010, 12:56 PM
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I actually prefer using used clothes instead of new organic, for all the reasons listed here. And if there are any lingering pesticides in conventional clothing, then they are probably washed out after the clothes are worn/washed for a while, along with any excess of dyes, fabric softeners, etc, or anything else that could get onto clothes as they are shipped around the world.

What I watched out for the most with baby stuff, clothes and blankets, was 100% natural fibers. Most baby stuff sold at conventional places IS 100% cotton, so it's easy to find garage sale and hand me down stuff. But 100% polyester blankets and bodysuits? BLECH. (I still watch for this, for DD and myself, although I do allow some slight blends now.)
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#10 of 18 Old 03-04-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by St. Margaret View Post
I actually prefer using used clothes instead of new organic, for all the reasons listed here. And if there are any lingering pesticides in conventional clothing, then they are probably washed out after the clothes are worn/washed for a while, along with any excess of dyes, fabric softeners, etc, or anything else that could get onto clothes as they are shipped around the world.

What I watched out for the most with baby stuff, clothes and blankets, was 100% natural fibers. Most baby stuff sold at conventional places IS 100% cotton, so it's easy to find garage sale and hand me down stuff. But 100% polyester blankets and bodysuits? BLECH. (I still watch for this, for DD and myself, although I do allow some slight blends now.)
very interesting thread. i found myself wondering this when shopping for the nursery bedding. the organic cotton sets were pretty pricey, b ut of course you wash that stuff before letting your newborn lay on it.
we're big fans of hand me down too. especially the pjs/onesies that you don't really see in pics as much. i'd hate to have to buy everything new with prices we see today.
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#11 of 18 Old 03-04-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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I can't afford to buy all organic clothing (not that it wouldn't be nice, but still).

I try to use used clothing as much as possible- leaving synthetics (polyester=BLECH) and only using natural fibers like cotton and wool.

The downfall to this is that my family and friends are the exact opposite of over-the-top-crunchy. Everything has been slathered in fabric softener (double BLECH!), so it's hard to really use things without washing them a bazillion times (baby has sensitive skin as well) which takes a huge toll on the environment, even with our HE washer. I buy 6 or 7 plain cotton lap tees in each size, and we use those. I figure that the manufacturing that goes into them is a lot less hurtful to the environment than the numerous washings I'd have to do with some used clothes. We use wool longies for the baby stage and cotton pants or jeans for the older stage

We get alot of used clothing.. lots of times left on our porch with a note, if we're not home. I end up donating ALOT.

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#12 of 18 Old 03-04-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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My understanding is that the main reason to buy organic cotton clothing is for environmental concerns, not pesticide exposure for the wearer-- all cotton for clothing has to be washed, so the pesticides are removed during processing. This is *not* necessarily the case for cotton used for other applications (like batting).
I found this informative:
http://www.euphoriababy.com/blog/eco...out-of-cotton/

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#13 of 18 Old 03-04-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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[QUOTE=WindyCityMom;15144050]. Everything has been slathered in fabric softener (double BLECH!), so it's hard to really use things without washing them a bazillion times (baby has sensitive skin as well) which takes a huge toll on the environment, even with our HE washer./QUOTE]

Using a good dose of vinegar in your rinse will really help strip the softener out of the clothing.
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#14 of 18 Old 03-05-2010, 12:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dogretro View Post
We also live in an old house w/ a lead water intake pipe (filter on kitchen faucet).
Just FYI. A filter will not probably help you at all when it comes to lead from your pipes. The worst water is after it has been stagnant in the pipes for awhile. So a good way to make the lead content of your water fairly non-existent is to run it for a minute after it has not been turned on for more than 5-6 hours. So after you wake up in the morning and after you get home from work. You don't have to run it very long, just until it goes from warmish to fairly cool (or as cool as your water gets).
Water running through the pipes will not collect very much lead at all.

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#15 of 18 Old 03-05-2010, 03:01 AM
 
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Thanks for the water info; the city water people told us about running the water in the morning when we moved in Thankfully, dh takes a shower first thing every morning, so the old water gets dumped on his head, not into our bellies! At the mo, our tub faucet has a bad leak that we are trying to fix, so there is no real stagnant water anyway

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#16 of 18 Old 03-05-2010, 04:04 AM
 
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Yes, if it's not new and organic, then used is a better way to go. The more washings, the better. The one exception are fleece PJs, or any PJs that aren't intended to fit tightly and have been treated with flame retardants. That stuff does not go away.

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#17 of 18 Old 03-05-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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Yes, if it's not new and organic, then used is a better way to go. The more washings, the better. The one exception are fleece PJs, or any PJs that aren't intended to fit tightly and have been treated with flame retardants. That stuff does not go away.
There are some ways to reduce flame retardants in clothing. Hot water washing in a very strong solution of washing soda (sodium carbonate)--a few cups for a medium load--will help remove antimony, if the flame retardant is antimony. And many flame retardant pieces of clothing generally say to wash with detergent, not soap. Real soap, over time, degrades the flame retardant chemicals.

Not perfect, and obviously not something one would want to do if they wanted their clothing to remain flame resistant, but if you're dealing with clothing you've already got and aren't in a position to buy new, it's an option.
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#18 of 18 Old 03-06-2010, 01:31 AM
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When my first baby was born I went through the same thing, hyper analysing everything, thinking I could keep everything harmful away from him. As good as those intentions are, I've found that that's a good way to drive yourself close to mental, as well as the people around you, and spend a whole lot of money unnecessarily.
It would probably be wise to take generous offerings like this when they are offered, and put the extra cash into other things.
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