GOTS (the Global Organic Textile Standard) is your assurance of many important things that can make you feel great about your fabric choice, including:
SAFETY: No known or suspected toxic chemicals have been used in the manufacture of the fabric, so you won't find them residual in the fabric you are using. Among the prohibited chemicals:
- All Flame Retardants: Brominated or Chlorinated
- All Endocrine Disruptors
- Formaldehyde and other short chain aldehydes
- Halogenated solvents
- Fluorocarbons (PFCs)
- Heavy metals (i.e., lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic)
- Chlorophenols (TCP, PCP)
- Aromatic solvents (benzene, toluene)
In fact, all the chemicals that are the subject of Greenpeace's very important DETOX Campaign are completely prohibited. For a complete list of the toxic chemicals prohibited and restricted by GOTS, click here. The Link will open to the title page of the current, 4.0, GOTS standard. You want page 8, section 2.3.1: Prohibited and Restricted Inputs.
WATER TREATMENT: GOTS requires thorough water treatment at each step of the manufacturing process. This is especially important with fabric because the production of fabric uses copious amounts of water, indeed, the textile industry is the #1 industrial polluter of water in the world.1 And this chemically filled effluent enters our groundwater, circulating around the world. Since, as Gene Lisa says, there is not a no peeing" part of the swimming pool, the toxic chemicals being dumped into the Irawaddy or the Yellow River in China affect us all.
CARBON FOOTPRINT: A GOTS certified fabric is the best choice if you're concerned about carbon footprint issues - even though the GOTS standard does not directly address carbon footprint. Please click here for a discussion of that topic.
WORKER SAFETY AND WORKER RIGHTS: GOTS also assures workers of safe and hygienic working conditions in the mills, and fair wages. Child and slave labor are prohibited.
1Cooper, Peter, Clearer Communication", Ecotextile News, May 2007. Please note that some sources say it is #2. Whether #2 or #1, the textile industry uses gargantuan quantities of water. Everyone agrees that agriculture is #1. If you want to count agriculture as an industry then ag is #1 and textiles is #2 - or #3 according to some sources. Here again, #1, #2, #3 - or #4 - the textile industry uses and pollutes gargantuan quantities of water. Please click here to learn more about water use in the textile industry.