Gots Certified Products – Good News for Organic Shoppers

In the world we live in, sadly we can’t always take things at face value. Take, for example, the term “organic.” As you may have read in our recent blog about the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), technically only textiles that are certified organic can be called organic. But with the growing number of “natural” and “organic” products available, it is easy to become a little skeptical…after all, is anyone really holding all of these companies accountable?

It turns out, the answer is “yes.” A few months ago, in the US District Court of Virginia, GOTS won a civil action against a number of companies that were mislabeling and/or falsely advertising their products as “organic.” The case led to a permanent injunction that impedes the unauthorized use of the GOTS logo. Within a matter of weeks, GOTS had also filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to detail the prevalent misuse of the term “organic” in relation to textiles. You can read the full article here.

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This is good news, not only for manufacturers of truly organic products (like Lifekind), but also for consumers everywhere! As Herbert Ladwig, the GOTS Managing Director, put it: “The lawsuit and FTC complaint should send a clear message to the textile sector that unauthorized and unsubstantiated claims that textile products are ‘organic’ or GOTS-certified will not be tolerated.” This lack of tolerance for misleading claims means more transparency in textile marketing… and that should give consumers more confidence when shopping for things like organic clothing or bedding.

Of course, as a consumer, it is still a good idea to do your homework and to verify organic claims (especially with large purchases, like mattresses). Keep in mind that you can always search directly for producers and products in the public database on the GOTS website.

Happy organic shopping!

GOT GOTS? The Logo to Look For on Cotton Products

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By now it’s clear to most Americans that organic food is more healthful, and organic farming practices are safer for the Earth than conventional methods. When we shop organic it’s always comforting to see third-party organic certifications, because “natural” can mean whatever the manufacturer would like it to. If a food product is labeled “organic,” however, it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients.

Soft, breathable cotton — our favorite textile to wear and wrap up in bed with — has dirty secrets that have long gone unchecked, a fact about which most of America has no idea. Cotton is considered the world’s most toxic crop. (Check out the approximately 20 million results for “toxic cotton” on Google.)

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Organic cotton, like organic food, uses less water, doesn’t poison the soil and its farmers, and isn’t treated with toxic chemical finishing agents. In the U.S., the claim “organic” on textiles is protected by the government. Only textiles labeled with a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) logo can be claimed as organic.

Check out this simple GOTS video to learn more:

Below are some resources to help you learn about the toxic cotton industry.

Let’s start a clean cotton revolution!

How to get rid of chemicals in fabrics (Hint: trick question)

Chemical cotton 

Fact sheet on U.S. cotton subsidies and production

Lifekind Contest: July 4th Travel Pillow and Personal-Care Kit Giveaway

July 4th Travel Giveaway

It’s Giveaway Time! In the spirit of healthy things for all Americans, Lifekind is giving away a gift each month…for FREE! July’s giveaway includes one organic Travel Pillow, available in tan or sage, plus one Naturally Safer™ Personal-Care Travel Kit, available in lavender or unscented. Total retail value is $103.95!

 TanTravelPillow SageTravelPillow2

This patriotic, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)-certified organic cotton travel-size pillow is made right here in California, has a removable colorgrown organic cotton gingham cover, and is filled with Texas-grown, NOP (National Organic Program)-certified organic cotton. View full description here: https://goo.gl/l0qRDQ

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travelkit800_04 Skip the chemical laden hotel soap and hair care and wash up Naturally Safer™ with travel size shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, liquid soap, and bar soap – designed to meet airline restrictions on carry-on luggage. View our Personal-Care Travel Kit here: https://goo.gl/O2lSoF

 

Here’s to good health and safe travels, and thank you for participating!

 

Terms and Conditions: Giveaway ends July 16, 2015 at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Open to residents of the U.S. only, age 18+. Products offered for the giveaway are free of charge,;no purchase is necessary to enter or win. Odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. The winner will be selected at random (by Random.org) and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+. Lifekind will use the information provided in this form only for the purpose of contacting the winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are there federal requirements for calling a mattress “organic”?

Answer: Yes. And verifying these requirements is the only way to make sure you’re not falling victim to fraudulent advertising claims when shopping for an organic mattress.

The government agency that controls use of the word “organic” is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under Title XXI of the 1990 Farm Bill, otherwise known as The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.

This Act established national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products in order to assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard and to facilitate fairness within interstate commerce.

USDA control over use of the word “organic” extends to non-edible agricultural crops such as cotton and rubber trees, and further extends to non-edible products derived from livestock, such as wool.

To call any of these raw materials “organic,” each producer must meet the requirements listed in the Act and subject its facility and products to annual audit by a USDA-approved “certifying agent.”

Furthermore, for a complex finished textile product, such as a mattress, to be called organic it must be composed of a minimum of 95% certified raw materials as listed above. Then independently, the company manufacturing the mattress must also meet the requirements as listed in the Act and to subject its facility and finished products to an independent annual textile audit to standards such as GOTS, by a USDA-approved certifying agent.

Therefore, to call a mattress “organic” or to sell it as such, the company producing the mattress must earn independent organic status and be awarded an organic certificate annually in their name. This means that a mattress cannot be called organic simply because it is made up of one, some, or even all organic raw materials. It is the “certifying agent” that substantiates that the organic claim being made is actually true. It must be a USDA-approved certifying agent, who through an audit process can give a company legitimate claim or right to use the term “organic.”

Legislation in the United States established the Federal Trade Commission Act in1914. Under this Act, the Commission is empowered to, among other things, prevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive consumer acts or representations affecting commerce.

If a company calls its product “organic” and its facility, methods, and specific products have not been awarded organic status by a USDA-approved certifying agent, that claim is deceptive, and constitutes an unfair method of competition in the marketplace. Unfair marketing claims fall under the purview of the FTC.

Specific to environmental claims, the FTC has published the “Green Guide.” While the guide defines a number of environmental terms and correct use and association of logos and seals, the primary emphasis of the document is substantiation. Environmental marketing claims must be substantiated.

Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce. A representation, omission, or practice is deceptive if it is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances and is material to consumers’ decisions. See FTC Policy Statement on Deception, 103 FTC 174 (1983). To determine if an advertisement is deceptive, marketers must identify all express and implied claims that the advertisement reasonably conveys. Marketers must ensure that all reasonable interpretations of their claims are truthful, not misleading, and supported by a reasonable basis before they make the claims. See FTC Policy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation, 104 FTC 839 (1984).

In the context of environmental marketing claims, a reasonable basis often requires competent and reliable scientific evidence. Such evidence consists of tests, analyses, research, or studies that have been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified persons and are generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results. Such evidence should be sufficient in quality and quantity based on standards generally accepted in the relevant scientific fields, when considered in light of the entire body of relevant and reliable scientific evidence, to substantiate that each of the marketing claims is true.

James Kohm is the Associate Director for the Enforcement Division of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. In that capacity, he oversees enforcement of all consumer protection orders and the Commission’s Green Marketing program. When Mr. Kohm spoke on January 27, 2013 at the World Market Center, he made clear that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not define what is or can be called organic. The FTC can conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce and seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers and other businesses from unsubstantiated environmental claims. Review the following links that report FTC investigation of unsubstantiated claims:

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2013/07/three-companies-barred-advertising-mattresses-free-volatile

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2011/01/ftc-settlement-ends-tested-green-certifications-were-neither

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2009/08/ftc-charges-companies-bamboo-zling-consumers-false-product-claims

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/01/ftc-approves-final-orders-settling-charges-three-companies-made

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/06/ftc-brings-second-case-year-against-plastic-lumber-products?utm_source=govdelivery

 

At Lifekind, we’ve worked hard to establish and maintain a comprehensive organic program. This ensures the creation and assurance of certified organic goods. Testing, quality assurance, lot tracking, purchasing organic raw materials (despite the higher cost), and spending thousands annually on auditing are just a few of the ways in which we keep our rigorous organic program in place. Third-party certification is the only thing protecting us from companies that do none of these things, but would try nevertheless to reap marketing dollars by fraudulently associating the term “organic” with their products.

It does not fall to the consumer or retailer to judge what is or is not organic. For a company to call its products “organic” it must have been granted organic status by a USDA-approved “certifying agent.” The consumer need only confirm a valid certificate with the company’s name and products listed, not a certification showing he name of a grower or producer. At Lifekind, we’ve covered all the bases, so you can “rest” assured you’re purchasing a TRULY organic mattress.

Lifekind Organic Mattress Profile: The Combo Natural Rubber Latex / Innerspring

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The Combo organic mattress is often the best choice for people who prefer the traditional “bouncy” feel of an innerspring mattress yet want the cushiony comfort of natural rubber latex. It’s also ideal for sleepers of different weights and statures who share a bed.

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Lifekind Combo Organic Mattress cutaway

Available in two versions, the one-sided, non-flippable Combo has a two-inch layer of natural rubber added to the top of the innerspring core, and the two-sided, flippable Combo has two inches of natural rubber added to both sides.
Either version of the Combo can be supported by a boxspring for added “give” and softness, or by a wood-slat foundation or platform- style bed for a firmer, more stable feel.

Click here to view more details and pricing: http://goo.gl/YmokOa

As always, Lifekind’s Product Specialists are happy to answer all your product questions or help you decipher which firmness or type of mattress is best for your personal needs, and can be reached between 7:30 and 5:00 Monday through Friday Pacific time at 800-284-4983. Give us a call!

Our independent third-party certifications are shown below:

GOLS •  Certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

 

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•  20-year limited warranty, and meets the GREENGUARD® product emission standard

 

 

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• GOTS prohibits the use of ingredients like formaldehyde, GMOs, heavy metals, copper, fumigants, fluorocarbons, aromatic solvents, and chlorophenols in any part of the production process. Raw materials known to be toxic (to the earth, the ozone layer, or any living organism) are also prohibited. Additionally, GOTS explicitly requires that organic materials do not come in contact with non–organic materials.

If Textiles Could Talk: “Those colors are to dye for!”

Have you ever wondered about textile dyes and the effect they have on the environment? The purpose of this blog is to shed a neon light on the subject. Be forewarned: the beautiful colors in your closet may look different after reading… The textile dyeing and finishing industry has a very dirty past, and due to environmental concerns, is finally facing pressure to clean up its act. The industry uses huge amounts of chemicals and vast amounts of water (100-150 liters of water to process 1 kg of textile material) and is known for poisoning rivers by dumping mega amounts of toxic, untreated wastewater (effluent) directly into waterways. Pigments in India Azo dyes and pigments are used to color most textiles and leathers. They are dangerous to work with, giving off carcinogenic amines. The name Azo is derived from the Greek a (not) + zoe (to live). With a name like that, it’s no wonder these dyes have an adverse affect on water resources, soil fertility, and eco-system integrity. The industry also uses significant amounts of bleaches, acids, alkalis, salts, stabilizers, surfactants, fire retardants, softeners, starches, heavy metals, and an assortment of dyes (acid, basic, disperse, mordant, reactive, sulphur dye, pigment, and vat). Most of these chemicals are applied using water as a medium. With the price of water consumption and effluent disposal increasing, some companies are beginning to look at ways to reduce water usage and find viable ways to treat effluent, while many dye houses will continue to use up local water supplies and dump untreated toxic wastewater into streams and rivers until the cows come floating home. dumpnowaste Air-dyeing is a waterless dyeing system, which uses less energy and no auxiliary chemicals and is twice as fast. Nike and IKEA have invested in DyeCoo, a waterless dyeing company, and Adidas’ DryDye shirts are made using this system. Currently air-dyeing industrial machines only work on polyester and are very expensive, but carbon dioxide, the substance used, is inexpensive and is also re-used in the process, saving money and resources. While waterless dyeing may be more environmentally friendly, synthetic dyes are still used, however. Low-impact dyes have been classified as eco-friendly by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (an international certification process). These dyes generally do not contain toxic chemicals or mordants (used to fix dye to fiber), require less rinsing, and have a high absorption rate, saving energy and creating less wastewater than conventional methods. Fiber-reactive dyes are low-impact synthetic dyes that bond directly with fibers and don’t require mordants or use heavy metals or known toxic substances. They use lower temperatures and shorter cycles, saving water and energy, and are now available in brighter and richer colors as well as having excellent colorfast propertiesclothe Low-impact, fiber-reactive dyes are the dyes of choice in eco-fashion, and Oeko-Tex 100 certified dyes are used on organic textiles to qualify for the GOTS certification. The Global Organic Textile Standard is in place to cover all of the post-harvest production and processing of fibers. Stay tuned for If Textiles Could Talk part 2, about “natural” dyes.

The Best Baby Shower Gift Ever!

After receiving several thank-you notes from friends saying “Your baby gift was the best ever,” I wanted to pass along my secret. Every new baby deserves an organic, chemical-free play mat!

Lifekind Lion Playmat

Hand-sewn in Lifekind’s GOTS-certified factory here in Northern California, our Safari and Garden Play Mats are made with all-organic materials, and provide baby with a safe, soft padded area from newborn to crawling stage.   The removable zipper cover allows for regular washing, and holds up well even with lots of use. Another great feature of the play-mat design is the contrast patterns that contribute to baby’s early visual development, as mentioned in Parents magazine by Tinker Ready.

Lifekind Organic Factory

 So if you’re in need of the perfect gift for a friend – or for your own baby – I highly recommend the Lifekind Play Mat. See other gift-giving options here at: http://bit.ly/14lpDLi

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Is an organic mattress worth the money – A Peek Inside Mattresses

It’s no secret that Lifekind® is big on purity. It’s also no secret that other mattress makers claim to be big on purity too, so when consumers are searching for the purest mattress they can find, it quickly becomes a matter of sleuthing out the truth.

From the outside, most mattresses look about the same. I totally understand why people will see a mattress that claims to be “natural” or “organic” for a fraction of what a Lifekind mattress costs, and they purchase it.

Naturally, comfort is a big part of why people purchase the mattresses they do. But if you’ve found Lifekind, you’re most likely also interested in what goes into making our certified organic mattresses — what you will be sleeping on for the next 20 years. Let’s dig a little deeper and look inside a few different mattresses.

This first picture (below) shows a conventional synthetic foam rubber mattress, much like the ones you will find in mattress showrooms around the world. It looks pretty on the outside, nice and fluffy, and just begs you to climb into bed.

ConventionalMattressInterior

But once you look inside, you see something completely different.

The first layer is the cover material. Then there are several layers of conventional synthetic foam (notorious for offgassing, not to mention the petroleum it contains and the hardship it puts on the Earth to produce), bleached and highly processed cotton, more foam, and then a base layer that is made from cotton scraps.

CompetitorMattressInterior

This second picture is of a popular “organic” mattress brand that specializes in crib mattresses. Underneath the “food-grade” polyethylene mattress cover (made entirely from petrochemicals), you can see bleached cotton. The blue layer is a Tyvek-like material. Then cotton that is of an unknown grade (the specks you see in there are debris – stems from the cotton plant, along with other unknown detritus), then a plastic mesh layer. The cotton filling they use is most likely organic, but other than that, this mattress does not contain organic materials. Yet it is selling every day because the manufacturer touts the benefits of its “organic” mattresses, misleading consumers into believing that they are purchasing a pure, organic mattress without offering any clue about what is going on inside the mattress.  Naturally, most consumers won’t cut open a new mattress, so there is no way for them to know.

The third picture shows the inside of a GOTS-certified organic Lifekind mattress.  Looking at the layers from the top down, you can see our organic quilting, which includes only certified organic wool and organic cotton cover material. Sandwiched between layers of certified organic cotton canvas is high-quality, certified organic cotton padding. No silica, Tyvek, or other synthetic, non-organic materials are included in its construction.  The innersprings used in the mattress are made of untreated virgin steel, wrapped in four layers of certified organic cotton.

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Something Comforting About these Labels

I was in San Francisco and did some shopping this weekend. I stumbled upon a store that sold mostly organic cotton shirts, skirts, and dresses. What caught my eye and separated this company from most others were their labels. In bold letters they read, “Cotton is GOTS certified organic.” It is in my nature to trust people. If someone tells me something is organic, I tend to believe them. And yet, there was something comforting about these labels. I didn’t need to ask the sales associate where the shirts were made or what kind of material they were. The company had nothing to hide and I was not secretly wondering if they were being truthful about the details of the product line because they were certified by a third party.

Third-party certifications on  material items can turn you into a responsible shopper without having to do much work. Truthfully, I was going to buy a skirt no matter what. The GOTS certification was the tipping point, as I now want to revisit the company because the clothing is high quality, fits well, and is made from sustainable materials. I can have my cake and eat it too, and the store benefits because I’ll certainly patronize this store again and again.
-Sara, Product Specialist

Lifekind®: Organics You Can Trust – Organic Certifying Organizations

Just 20 years ago, anyone who was into an organic lifestyle was likely to be considered a little odd. Organic choices were limited back then; nowadays they’re everywhere. Now that being “green” is a trend, even major chain stores like Wal-Mart and Target are carrying organic food and bedding.

But what does it mean to truly be organic? The roots of the organic movement stemmed from the early 1900s, when synthetic fertilizers were introduced in the early days of industrial farming. Even after WWI, with more pressure being applied to farmers to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a larger yield, ecological farmers, though a minority, stood firm in their beliefs. Pioneers like Rachel Carson helped shed light on the dangers of these newly introduced chemicals. By the 70s and 80s, certification standards for organic food came into effect, thanks to various farming and consumer groups demanding more government regulation.

With organic certification, consumers should feel confident that the goods they desire are truly organic. However, there is an absence of government regulation in the production of non-food items. With the sprawling popularity of organic finished goods, many large corporations are cashing into the “green” market by using some organic materials, yet compromising purity to achieve a lower price.

In a competitive marketplace where businesses want your money, it can be tough to read between the lines. If you look in the right direction, however, the writing is on the wall: Without government regulation, consumers must rely on third-party scrutiny to assure that finished goods, not just raw materials, are truly organic. Certifying organizations such as Oregon Tilth (OTCO) guarantee that products meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and other regulations to ensure that you are getting a truly organic product.

It’s the only type of assurance that actually means anything. And at Lifekind®, it’s all we do.

Rowena, Product Specialist