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Wed, Jan. 22

Earth Day: You are what you wear?

Courtesy photos

Courtesy photos

Organic clothing not only feels better, it is better for the whole planet.

Organic cotton is not genetically modified and  grown without using pesticides.  Organic Cotton keeps your skin free from toxic chemicals that are embedded into the cotton plant even after it has been processed.

Residual chemicals may also irritate skin.  People with allergies and chemical sensitivity especially benefit from organic clothing, as conventional cotton may retain harmful toxic residues. Even if you don't have sensitive skin, organic cotton just feels better. The fibers of organic cotton are longer, softer and less brittle, making them more comfortable to wear.

Organic cotton not only doesn't use pesticides, but it uses a lot less water. How? Because organic cotton is a rotation crop. When crops are rotated, the soil maintains its nutrients and is better able to hold water.

Organic Bamboo is another great choice.  The benefits of bamboo are abundant. Because bamboo grows so quickly, it is a resource that is not only sustainable, but also gives back to the environment.  Bamboo grows rapidly, requiring no fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides in its growing process, and remains one of the most efficient sustainable fabrics by totally replenishing itself every six years.

Hemp has been used for centuries to make everything from rope to clothing, to paper. Hemp is illegal to grow in the US, even though the hemp plant is different from the marijuana plant and doesn't get anyone high.  Smoking hemp would get you nothing more than a few trips to the bathroom as a laxative.  We can import hemp products into the US, so your shirts are perfectly legal to wear and be proud of.

Beyond the environment, there are many benefits for the people wearing bamboo or hemp. Bamboo fabric is lightweight and strong, while being smooth and softer than cotton.  It feels like cashmere but is machine washable. Hemp has been compared to linen and has four times the strength of cotton.

It won't weaken when washed yet becomes softer with use.

The fabrics have insulating properties keeping the wearer cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Both keep your body dry and have anti-bacterial qualities.  They filter UV light, protecting your skin and resist bacterial growth, so you won't smell.  They have a porous personality that allows it to breathe, keeping you cool in the summer and warmer in cooler weather.

You can wear your organic clothing out on the town and you may walk a little taller.

Ray Sola is the owner of Man At Leisure. Call 928-776-4874.

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