It’s gift-giving time and my mailbox has been crammed with catalogs for the past couple of weeks. It’s not because I order a lot of stuff. I don’t. And what happened to saving paper? And trees? Most of the catalogs go directly into the recycling bin, but I do keep a few to browse through with a cup of tea in those rare moments of relaxation.
Okay, what are we buying this year? It seems like the most popular items are pretty much the same things we have been buying for years…a shirt for dad, a set of linens for the newlyweds, a parka for mom, socks for everyone. So, after looking through several catalogs, it was interesting to see how many fabrics used for these items are treated with chemicals. “No iron,” “wrinkle-free,” “stain and water repellant,” “anti-microbial” are common descriptions. I wonder if they would be as attractive to consumers if the labels said “Contains the carcinogen, formaldehyde,” “Treated with PFC’s (perfluorinated chemicals) that the EPA says are likely human carcinogens and are an indestructible toxic chemical group that pollutes nearly every American’s blood,” or “Contains antimicrobial chemical triclosan, which may alter hormone regulation. Other studies have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”
I think I am going to opt for 100% untreated cotton or wool (organic would be even better). When there is so much uncertainty about the risk of common chemicals in our everyday lives, I think it is always best to err on the side of caution. And I’m going to contact an organization that takes your name off mailing lists to limit the number of catalogs that get printed. Check out one source here.