The truth about organic products: Are they automatically safe?
The term “organic” has much marketing appeal to new parents. The baby market is inundated with textile products labelled as “organic.” Most parents will draw the conclusion that “organic” must mean the product is safe, just like organic food is assumed healthy. The truth is that this may not be the case. Many manufacturers choose to ride the wave of conscientious customers wanting to do the right thing. In many cases, it’s the raw materials (the yarn or the fibres) that hold the organic certification. This means that the final product has not necessarily been proven to comply and has not been tested for harmful residues. Still, the manufacturer will most likely put the organic stamp on their packaging to appeal to parents.
Why “organic” is not always what it seems
But here’s when the “organic” label becomes murky. Parents often purchase garments and textile items that:
a) consist of more than one type of material (e.g. a stuffed product), and/or
b) have a lot of detailing (ribbons, zippers, buttons…or simply threads), and/or
c) are dyed or printed – or both
Here are some examples of how the “organic” labelling can lead many consumers astray:
- The pillow you purchase may have an uncertified cover, while the fibres themselves are the only part that is certified organic. Or vice versa
- The zippers or ribbons – or the sewing thread– on your piece of baby gear may contain unwanted residues.
The dying or printing processes of your colourful garment may have added harmful substances to the originally organic yarn.
The conversation you should be having about organic products
Once you start to dig deeper as a consumer, you will find there are many products labelled as “organic” when quite the opposite is true. Additionally, something that most people are unaware of is that for several certification programs (e.g. GOTS, which is the world’s largest), there are various grades of organic. But have you ever seen an organic label stating to what degree (percentage) the textile product is organic? This is rare, if at all happening (we’ve not seen it!). And even GOTS’ highest standard (which is level-grade 1; there are two grades) can consist of up to 5% non-organic natural or synthetic fibres. The GOTS level-grade 2 allows for us of up to 30% non-organic natural or synthetic fibres. Grade two does come with the obligation by the manufacturer to state the percentage of organic materials. But we have never seen any labels saying: “This product is 70% organic.” Also, within the world of organic certification, there is no distinction between product classes. So the level of unwanted residues allowed in organic products are the same whether it’s an upholstery cover, a coat – or a baby product.
Why We’re Speaking Out
So, why do we at DockATot think it’s important to talk about this? Well, we’re often asked why we don’t have an organic range. Our answer is, we’ve got something much better. Something much safer. We have Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 Class 1, which goes further than any other standard addressing the safety of textiles.
Why DockATot® cherishes the Oeko-Tex® certification
Now, what is it? Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex® is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels, as well as accessory materials used. Since its introduction in 1992, the central focus of the Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex® has been the development of test criteria, limit values and test methods on a scientific basis. On the basis of its comprehensive and strict catalogue of measures, with several hundred regulated individual substances, this standard takes account of all imaginable potentially harmful chemicals as well as environmentally relevant substances, even if they are not yet legally regulated. With several decades of experience, the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 therefore contributes to high and effective product safety from a consumer’s point of view. Test criteria and limit values in many cases go far beyond applicable national and international standards.
Furthermore, The Oeko-Tex® tests for harmful substances are fundamentally based on the respective purpose of the textiles and materials. The more intensive the skin contact of a product and the more sensitive the skin, the stricter the human-ecological requirements that need to be complied with. Accordingly, a distinction is made between four product classes:
Product class I: Articles for babies and toddlers up to 3 years of age (underwear, rompers, clothing, bed linen, terry products etc.)
Product class II: Articles that are worn close to the skin (underwear, bed linen, t-shirts, socks etc.)
Product class III: Articles used away from the skin (jackets, coats etc.)
Product class IV: Decoration/Furnishing materials (curtains, tablecloths, upholstery covers).
There are many manufacturers that are not sincere about their testing practices, so when buying an Oeko-Tex or GOTS labelled item, always inquire about what parts (materials, accessories) of the item are certified. We encourage you to start a conversation with the brands you are interested in and find out exactly what parts are covered under the organic and/or Oeko-Tex certification. If you discover the entire product’s certified and tested and proven 100% free from harmful residues, then that's a brand worth your loyalty.
Our promise to you
When you buy a DockATot, it comes with the assurance that every single piece of it – fibres, zippers, pulltabs, buckles, nylon straps, sewing thread, fabrics (including cover fabric, non-woven liner fabric, protective sleeve fabric), bumper fibres, pad wadding– comply with Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 Class 1. All of the fabrics and threads and zippers and straps (anywhere we use colours) – has been tested after coming out of any dying and/or printing process. All our suppliers of these materials are continuously audited and tested to maintain the badge. All of our docks and covers are made in Europe and consequently regulated by strict laws on labour an environment. We would not have it any other way. This is our promise to you.