Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Are Cotton Pajamas Safe?

Have you ever asked yourself how safe your child is when he’s wearing cotton pajama? Did you ever ask yourself which chemicals were used in manufacturing the garment?

Most children’s pajamas are made from polyester or cotton. This is confirmed by the US CPSC or the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Because it is made of synthetic fabrics, have flame retardant chemicals which bond into the fabric’s entire composition making the cloth snug-fitting. It is important to note that cotton pajamas should be snug-fitting since this is what the government rules complies.

According to CPSC, cotton and polyester pajamas are said to be flame resistant. Because cotton is manufactured with fire retardants that are already built in through the insertion of chemicals to the compound, the fabric becomes part of the composition. Halogenated hydrocarbons are contained in the cotton and polyester pajamas.

These polymers are stable so cotton pajamas do not have threats to the health of the child. The only problem is that if cotton pajamas are not snug-fitting, this may affect the breathability of the composition of the fabric which can lead to rashes or overheating.

In 1971, CPSC adopted a couple of standards with regards to children’s pajamas. It is said that the pajamas must be exposed to the flame and should extinguish on its own. That is why polyester garments were approved because the built-in fire retardants did just as that. The opposite could be said about cotton pajamas. Because these were untreated, data show that there was a decrease in cotton pajamas as well as fire-related injuries and deaths among children.

The standards regarding flammability took effect around this time leading to the elimination of cotton pajamas. In 1977, a fire retardant used in textiles was discovered to be carcinogenic and was also banned by the CPSC. The public demanded for more comfortable and healthier sleepwear around the 80s and 90s. The consumer groups pressured the CPSC to lighten the standards on Flammable Fabrics, particularly cotton pajamas.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, loose sleepwears that are made from cotton are linked to the injuries and burns incurred each year. But because of the demand from the public for more comfortable sleepwear, the Flammable Fabrics Act was changed in 1997 and the snug-fitting cotton pajamas became legal.

The new standards from the CPSC required snug-fitting cotton pajamas to be labeled with a tag that claims to be safe for the child. As long as the garment is a snug fit and is not flame resistant, the parents are more convinced that their children will not catch fire wearing those cotton pajamas.

CPSC made sure that the flame-resistant garments are labeled correctly. Therefore, any garment must pass the testing parameters that are set by the company. It exposes the fabric to open flame over and over again. IF at any point it fails the test, then this particular item is stopped from being produced. Polyester pajamas usually pass the test. It is the cotton pajamas that have the harder time to do so.

Cotton pajamas can be treated by fire-retardants although there is a strict compliance to the standards of the CPSC requiring all of these fabrics must be snug-fitting and safe for children.

As a parent, prioritize on which kind of sleepwear you should shop for your child. It could be as follows. 1.) Nylon 2.) Polyester 3.) Cotton. The safest is to go for the snug-fitting and organic polyester.

About The Author:
Mario Churchill is a freelance author and has written over 200 articles on various subjects. For more information checkout http://www.caprirose.com and http://sleepwear.name.

What Your Clothes Really Say About You?

People often say that your clothes define who you are. Generally, you wear clothes to fit the occasion.

Some people wear clothes they feel comfortable in while others feel the need to wear stylish clothes that follow the current trends of the fashion industry.

No matter which of these categories you fit into, here are some basic rules of selecting different clothing styles to improve your appearance.

1. Clean and neat is acceptable; grungy and lousy ones are a no-no.

This applies to clothes for any occasion. Wash and properly iron and maintain your clothes so they do not have that worn-out look. This applies to each detail of your appearance as well.

Make sure that the accessories you choose match your outfit and make certain that you are well-groomed, from the top of your head to the tips of your newly-polished shoes.

2. Wear your clothes with an attitude.

You can look elegant even if you are just wearing jeans and a white shirt; this is where class and élan comes in. Some people can look great even when they are wearing a sack-like dress. What are the secrets celebrities are using to shed pounds after pounds? Secrets revealed at http://www.diets-weightloss.info

If you are the type of person who can pull off wearing jeans to a black-tie affair without looking like a “fish out of water”, then you can probably wear anything you desire and still manage to look great. If you are not naturally born with the appearance a super model, try to improve your appearance by paying attention to small details and trying out different types of clothes.

Ask for a friend’s or a professional opinion to ensure that you make the most of your attributes..

3. Make sure that your clothes fit.

From your underclothing to your blouse, pants, skirt, coat and shoes – never wear anything that does not fit well. A smooth, tailored look will further enhance your appearance and make you look as if Ralph Lauren personally designed your clothes for you.

4. Go with trends but do not overdo it.

If animal print is in season, acquire one piece of that theme as part of your wardrobe and pair it with something that is more understated. Never wear a tiger-print blouse, shoes and skirt all at the same time. When it comes to trends - less is more. When you are in good health and take care of yourself on the inside, it's bound to radiate to the outside! Find out more about fat workouts that keeps you in good, healthy shape.

5. Mix and match.

In your wardrobe, have one item of everything: do not buy multiple pieces of the same color and style of jeans or shirts. Variety will make your outfits more fun and interesting.

Remember that these are just fashion basics, but the basic rule is to wear whatever you feel comfortable in, experiment, have fun wearing your clothes with an attitude!

About The Author:
Looking great means feeling great! So, check out the secrets on how you can look and feel absolutely great at http://www.diets-weightloss.info

An Ethical Shopping Survey

Recently we ambushed Oxford Street shoppers for a survey on ethical shopping. But as we pounded the pavements of central London we found lots of shoppers asking us the same questions. Why should we care about sweatshops? What are they? Shouldnt people be grateful for any work they can get? If they werent working in a sweatshop wouldnt the workers be worse off? How can we change things? The answers are not always clear-cut, but we hope that this outline guide will bust a few myths about sweatshop workers, owners and customers.

What is a sweatshop anyway?
The word sweatshop described a nineteenth century system where subcontractors sweated out profits from the difference between the price of their product and the wages they paid. In the 21st Century the system is still thriving.

Sweatshops are generally defined as workplaces exploiting manual labourers. This refers to wages that are below the cost of living, dangerous working conditions and arbitrary discipline such as physical and verbal abuse. A typical example is the Nike factories in Indonesia, which according to the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) report in March 2002, paid its workers so little they cannot afford to have their children living with them.

The factory also refuses to buy their workers protective equipment. Ironically employees making Nikes state-of- the-art trainers may lose their own feet because the factory will not provide them with strong shoes to safeguard them from the heavy machinery they work with.

Why do people work in Sweatshops?
Because they have no other choice. Companies take their factories to areas where wages are low and there is less emphasis on workers rights. The cost of living may be less then in developed nations, but the minimum wage of these countries does not even cover this. Countries such as China are particularly attractive, not just for their low wages but also because of their repressive apparatus and corporate secrecy, which make human rights hard to patrol. In a Chinese factory contracting for Disney, workers were threatened or intimidated to ensure they would falsify their work records and lie to any groups who arrived to monitor working conditions (CCC report February 2001). Foreign-owned companies keep their costs down by not having sick pay, pension insurance or maternity leave. If workers demand better pay, or if demand dries up the company has no difficulty in packing up and leaving the country leaving employees destitute.

Isnt it better then unemployment?
The only answer to this is why should there only be two choices? Multinational clothing companies spend literally millions of pounds on advertising and paying their CEO each year- surely some of this money could be spent paying workers enough so they can buy basic necessities?

Sweatshops are all in the Third World ? right?
No. According to Sweatshop Watch 98% of garment workers in Los Angeles have health and safety problems, which could lead to serious injury or even death. These include bad ventilation, overcrowded factories which are a fire risk and unsanitary bathrooms. 63% of New York factories violate minimum wage and overtime restrictions. The majority of workers in the US garment industry are immigrant women and many are verbally or even physically abused and intimidated if they speak out. They can also be threatened with deportation. In 2002 the GMB found in two weeks at least three sweatshops operating in the East End of London. Less than minimum wage, transgression of health and safety regulations and excessive hours were all cited.

How low is low?
For Nike workers in Indonesia one chicken costs more then a days wages. Childrens cough medicine is 121% of a basic daily wage and you would have to save 4 days wages to buy a pair of jeans.

But what can the companies do - if they put up their prices to pay wages, sales will fall and so will jobs?
The Chief Executive of The Gap in 1999 earned in excess of $7,000,000 - yes, seven million dollars a year -according to Sweatshop Watch, while the average worker in China would be paid just 23 cents-an-hour. The answer doesnt seem to hard- ask the CEO to take a small pay cut. If this seems unfair perhaps the answer is to cut the advertising budget. Global Exchange says Nike spends $560million on advertising, that means if it spent 2% less it could bring the whole of its Vietnamese workers wages up to a living wage, as requested by Vietnamese Labour Watch.

Cant we just boycott these companies?
For most of us the knee-jerk reaction is to stop buying products made by sweat or child labour. But according to NGOs and The International Labour Organisation (ILO), consumer boycotts can harm workers more than the company. When sweatshops using child labour were closed in Bangladesh and Pakistan through consumer pressure Save the Children, along with Bangladeshi NGOs, pointed out children were merely forced into worse forms of labour. This was because children often brought in 30% of a familys income. As girls were only allowed to work in domestic service, prostitution or brick breaking, escaping from the garment industry was not always an improvement.

But, boycotts called by the workers themselves can be effective. Workers at Forever 21 in Los Angeles are trying to make this multi-million pound company pay the back wages they owe them. After working 10 to 12 hours a day for below minimum wage and no overtime in appalling conditions they are taking their employers to court and trying to ensure a fair deal for others.

Further Information
The easiest and most effective way to help improve the lives of garment workers is to make sure the shops you buy from know you care about how their clothes are made not just what they look like.

About The Author:
I work with the Green Directory http://www.guidemegreen.com and the Ethical Directory http://www.getethical.com to promote a greener and healthier lifestyle. I also promote eco friendly Jobs and Employers at http://www.jobs.guidemegreen.com