The sneaky way chemicals creep into the home.
Like many of you, I pay a good deal of attention to the foods I eat, buying organic as often as possible to limit my exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.
I'm careful about the kind of cleaning products I use around the house, the chemicals found in personal care products are particularly on my radar. No doubt you do too!
So, I was thinking I had the chemical prevention thing all covered.
I was cleaning out the lint collector in my clothes dryer a few years ago, and suddenly copped a face full of textile dust. This was the moment that something went 'clunk' in my head, and the following pieces of the chemical puzzle really fell into place for me:
Chemicals enter our bodies in multiple ways
The State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO says that:
"Human exposure can occur via the ingestion of food, dust and water, inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and skin contact."
Hormone disrupting and cancer causing chemicals are being used in the production of textiles in massive quantities
The Swedish Chemicals Agency Report 'Chemicals in Textiles: Risks to human health and the environment' established that the regulation, tracking and reporting of over 2,400 chemicals commonly used in textile production is inadequate to prevent the hazards posed by the 10% of commonly used chemicals in textiles that have been linked to cancer and hormonal disruption in humans.
Read our intriguing background introduction to our women’s group before you become acquainted with our Indian artisans and see how your purchase of fair trade bed linen makes an impact in a her life.
Our core women’s group, the faces behind the our handwork:
Nilofar - Studio Assistant & Hand Embroiderer
Nilfoa, in her early 20s, helps run the design studio with the owner, interpreting the design requests from my manufacturer or I to the women's group. She is often running up and down stairs relaying vital design details by way of physical or commentary example. Nilofa entered the textile trade under her own interest (an interesting point to make as most lives are planned my family members, especially that of the women) and she already has her ambitious 5 year plan set out. She is learning as much as possible so that she can set up her own factory in fashion textiles of handmade work that has an ethical attachment. Her family lives 350km from her place of dwelling, so currently she lives in a women's hostel. She has been away from her family for 4 years yet visits them on the many religious festivals India celebrates. Her parents, her father in particular, are very supportive of her career. Nilofa loves to practice her English with me and often forces me to learn Hindi.
Asha - Hand Embroiderer & Machine Tailor
This smiley lady is a calm balm to be around. She radiates warmth and creative enthusiasm. Asha is the lynchpin in my hand embroidery team, often training the newer ladies in various needle work skills. Asha’s skills also lend themselves to machine work, studio assistant and studio mother-hen. A loyal, dedicated and caring young lady who enjoys working and is eager to advanced her skills in administration and accountancy. She is currently saving to enter into an administration course.