Saturday, November 25, 2006

Non-stick uniforms

Do you, like me, take your children's uniforms out of the washing machine only to see them sort of 'stand' on its own and wonder what sort of material it is made of?

No matter how much they have been wrung in the washing machine, they are still wearable without ironing.

Convenience to you and me perhaps. But something about these uniforms scare me.

To make anything 'iron-free' is to make it 'non-stick' so that creases do not set in. Non-stick means using that stuff they have been using to coat your pots and pans.

My son is moving from short shorts to long trousers next year and I cannot bear to think of all that non-stick uniform next to his bare skin.

But where can one get old-fashioned school uniforms these days? Well some 'research' came up with Clean Slate, for organic cotton (yay!) fair trade (better still) schoolwear.

Parents should be aware (and wary?) of the PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) in the family of PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) used in making non-stick uniforms. Put these letters into your search engines and you are likely to find industry-funded sites singing the praises of PFOA and downplaying its known and unknown side-effects on the body and the environment. So choose wisely which sites you wish to believe.

Make what of it you must this statement from a Washingtonpost.com report: "PFOA -- a key processing agent in making nonstick and stain-resistant materials -- has been linked to cancer and birth defects in animals and is in the blood of 95 percent of Americans, including pregnant women. It has also been found in the blood of marine organisms and Arctic polar bears."

Well, you know how when children start school at the new term they all seem to fall ill with mysterious symptoms. Not severe enough to incapacitate them thankfully, but annoying enough to cause anxiety. It has been noted in various websites that the use of cookware coated with PFOAs often lead to flu-like symptoms. Apparently heating cookware to/above certain temperature results in certain fumes being released.

I put two and two together and wondered if it was the school uniforms that are making children ill at the start of the school term. My son wears organic cotton where possible or at least none of that non-stick/iron-free stuff, but when term starts, boom! suddenly it's all non-stick uniforms. And the boys in his class take turns to be absent from school from coughs and colds, etc.

Look what I found in this old newspaper item from Wales: Are school uniforms making kids ill?

Intelligent readers of this blog (yes, all eight of you!) must draw your own logical conclusions.

Back to Organic-Ally.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I,m sure you are right. Girls school trousers are particularly bad but try getting a teenage girl to wear a skirt which would be so much healthier, and you meet up with a blank wall. Also the style of girls school trousers keeps the polyester too close to the skin and they end up with a nasty rash. Unfortunatly, teenage girls are so aware of 'cool' that a mothers suggestion is a no no. Mind you, I remember wearing hand knitted cose fitting wooly jumpers as a child (present from aunty) and boy did they itch................Lyds.