If you are at all concerned about the possible health implications to your family of the number of chemicals in the home and in particular used in the processing of textiles for clothing and home furnishings you may have already come across the letters GOTS. But what do they stand for and what does it mean to us as “shoppers”.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a tool for an international common understanding of environmentally friendly production systems and social accountability in the textile sector; it covers the production, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, exportation, importation and distribution of all natural fibres. In brief, this means that all dyestuffs are free of AZO colorants, heavy metals and other chemicals of concern, and no chemicals are used during weaving or finishing which might harm you, so you can use any fabric which has been GOTS certified knowing that it is safe for you and your family. For a full list of things that are specifically prohibited and much more go to the Global Standards website.
A fabric which is produced to the GOTS is more than just a fabric. It’s a promise to keep our air and water pure through high standards. Mills are required to treat wastewater and return it back into the system at drinking water quality. At this point in time an organic fabric processed to these standards is the safest, most responsible choice possible in terms of both stewardship of the earth and preserving health for both ourselves and future generations by limiting toxicity and reducing carbon footprint. Growing organic fibres also helps to maintain balance of the soil. Thank goodness for companies like OEcotextiles who are committed to producing fabrics that are safe for our families and for the world.
Finally the standards ensure that workers are treated well and are paid fair wages. Working conditions are good (such as air purification systems, adequate light and ventilation) and child labour is not permitted. Hard to believe that this is not always the case in the 21st century!
Surely we all want the same thing, a healthy home for our children to thrive in. There is great power in our decisions, in the choices we make every day. Sometimes it seems as if our lifestyle is in direct conflict with the well-being of the planet and all eco systems. How can we become more green in the home when it fells like there is limited time and income at our disposal? But it is important to remember that we do have a choice, and by choosing where we spend our money we make a direct contribution to the changes we wish to see in the world, we must be the change.