Free of harmful levels of toxic residue because it’s GOTS certified.
Cotton and even clothing made from certified organic cotton can retain the residue of the toxic chemicals used in the conventional manufacturing process. A 2013 study by Greenpeace found NPEs, phthalates, organotins, per/poly-fluorinated chemicals and antimony in excessive levels in clothes for infants and children.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) replaces the conventional method of manufacturing that can douse the fabric in a chemical bath at each step of the way.
Specifically, GOTS prohibits the following typically-used chemicals. Below we explain exactly why it matters for your baby.
- chlorine bleach
- aromatic solvents
- chlorinated benzenes
- endocrine disruptors
- functional nano-particles
- chlorination of wools
- chlorinated plastics (i.e. PVC)
- quaternary ammonium compounds
- aromatic and halogenated solvents
- brominated and chlorinated flame retardants
- complexing agents and surfactants (i.e. NPEs)
- plasticizers (i.e. PAH, phthalates, Bisphenol A)
- per- and polyfluorinated compounds (i.e. PFOA)
- synthetic inputs for anti-microbial finishing or coating (including biocides)
- heavy metals: antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, cobalt, copper, chromium, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, mercury, selenium, silver, zinc, tin
- azo colorants
- and substances that are classified as having hazard statements such as Suspected of Causing Cancer, May Cause Genetic Defects, Fatal if Inhaled, Toxic to Flora, Fauna, Aquatic Life or May Cause Long-Term Adverse Effects in the Environment and many others.
Further, buckles, buttons and press-studs, edgings, elastic bands and yarns, embroidery yarns, fasteners and closing systems, inlays, interface, labels, interlinings, pockets, seam bindings, sewing threads, shoulder pads, zips cannot contain asbestos, carbon fibers, silver fibers, chrome, nickel, material from threatened animals, plant or timber or chlorinated plastics such as PVC.
Why GOTS Matters
“Children have a higher skin surface area to body weight ratio than adults, and experience more intensive contact with home surroundings, so increased dermal absorption of chemicals may occur. The skin of children is also more permeable than adult skin. In newborns, keratinisation (thickening and toughening of the skin) does not occur until 3–5 days after birth, and is more delayed in premature infants (Bearer, 1995). Studies have shown enhanced absorption of toxins including various dyes, drugs and disinfectants through the skin of newborns (Eichenfield & Hardaway, 1999).” Dorey, Catherine N. (2003), Chemical Legacy: Contamination of the Child, Greenpeace UK, October 2003, ISBN 1-903907-06-3.
Chronic exposure to very low amounts of toxic chemicals can derail normal development and reduce IQ. Newborn children to age 3 are the most vulnerable because they are literally being built during this time.
A Most Rigorous Standard
GOTS certifies the manufacturing process where toxic chemicals are used and get passed on to your child.
- GOTS applies its manufacturing standards to only those fabrics that have been certified organic by a recognized farming standard (e.g. USDA’s NOP). This promotes organic and biodynamic farming and avoids GMOs, toxic pesticides and fertilizers.
- Final products consisting of 95-100% certified organic materials are Grade 1 and list the word ‘organic’ underneath the GOTS logo on the label.
- Final products consisting of at least 70% certified organic materials are Grade 2 and list the words ‘made with [X]% organic materials’ underneath the GOTS logo on the label.
- Regardless of the Grade, every product must meet rigorous standards for every step of the manufacturing process: pre-treatment, dyeing, printing and finishing. It prohibits the long list of chemicals shown above so that they don’t show up in the final product.
Watch the video below to learn more and for the entire standard see the GOTS Manual.
Washing: Machine wash only. Do NOT soak.
Drying: Machine dry only until toy is completely dry. If the toy does not dry completely and the cotton filling remains wet, this might allow mold to grow. To dry faster: place a bath towel in the dryer with the toy.
Spot Cleaning: Do NOT spot clean unless the hangtag states ‘spot clean.’ If the tag indicates spot clean, take a damp cloth with a bit of mild detergent to wash away the spot that needs cleaning. Spot cleaning directions are for Under the Niles’ larger toys that cannot be machine-washed.
Inspired by one mom’s love for her children, Under the Nile is an expression of that love for all children.
Our philosophy is built on the economics of love. Our goal is to enrich the planet and the lives of everyone involved with every stage of our business, from cotton to customer. – Janice Masoud
In 1998, Janice Masoud set out to find clothing that would not harm her two young daughters’ sensitive skin. During her search, she learned how harmful conventional cotton production was to the environment and to society. As the most pesticide-intensive crop in the world, conventionally grown cotton pollutes the land, degrades the soil and poisons the workers. Then, it’s often manufactured under deplorable conditions such as sweatshops and child slave labor. Having worked in the garment industry for 15 years after studying fashion, Janice believed something better was possible. And, it became clear to her that all children deserved better.
Unable to find an alternative fabric that did not have a detrimental impact on her daughters’ health, the environment and society, she and her husband Mohamed decided to create a clothing line that was the change they wanted to see in the world.
They began their search for cotton in Egypt, Mohamed’s homeland and world-famous for its high-quality cotton. They wanted to find a partner who shared their vision for a company committed to every aspect of ethical sourcing: organic farming methods, ethical production standards and put-into-practice environmental awareness. After a lengthy search, they found the SEKEM Initiative, a Fair Trade social enterprise that uses biodynamic farming to enrich the environment and provides social programs to take care of employees, families and the local community. Today, Under the Nile continues to work exclusively with SEKEM to produce the highest quality organic cotton baby products.
Under the Nile’s unwavering commitment to creating the highest quality children’s products is confirmed by their accomplishments.
Pure from the Start. Under the Nile starts with organic cotton that is certified to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP). NOP regulates all planting, fertilizing and handling methods. NOP verifies that irradiation, sewage, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are NOT used on their cotton crops.
Unique. Only 1% of the world’s cotton is true Egyptian cotton. Under the Nile’s fabric has always been made from authentic Egyptian cotton and now they are certified! Under the Nile is the first baby clothing company in the entire world to carry The Gold Seal of Egyptian Cotton. The Egyptian Cotton seed combined with Egypt’s climate produces cotton with extra long fibers and that makes Egyptian Cotton uniquely soft, durable and high quality.
Pioneers. Under the Nile was the first baby clothing company in the US to have all of their products certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), one of the leading processing standards for textiles made from organic fibers worldwide. License No.: 593-130308.
From Seed to Consumer. Under the Nile has two GOTS certifications: one for their manufacturing process and one for their distribution.
Above and Beyond. All of Under the Nile’s clothing is made from no less than 100% certified organic cotton.
Socially Just. All of Under the Nile’s cotton is grown and manufactured in SEKEM’s Fair Trade Certified facilities where a high value is placed on workers’ health, education and safety. A fair price is paid to all workers (from cotton growers to weavers); all employees work in a comfortable environment that includes open space, sufficient light, fresh air, exercise activities and daily organic meals; staff enjoys free health care and daycare is offered for the children of working moms. SEKEM is an award-winning Egyptian organization whose programs support environmental health, along with cultural and economic development.
Pure Inside and Out. Under the Nile is one of a handful of companies that not only make, but stuff their toys with 100% certified organic cotton. Many stuffed toys claiming to be organic are actually filled with polyester stuffing known as fluff – a synthetic material made from coal and petroleum derivatives which could cause respiratory problems in some babies.
Careful Construction. In order to get the very soft feel of their material, the cotton yarn is handled with great care during the knitting or weaving process. All auxiliaries used must either be recyclable or biodegradable to at least 90%. For example, for the weaving process, only natural starch is used.
Safe. All toys are tested and have passed United States’ ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) F963-11/section 22.214.171.124 and European Union EN71 government standards and meet all CPSA (Consumer Product Safety Act) requirements.
You care about the environment and so does Under the Nile.
That’s why their entire product line is GOTS certified.
GOTS ensures that strict Environmental Criteria are met throughout the entire production chain – from seed to consumer. Thus, you can be sure that when you purchase a product from Under the Nile, you positively impact the environment in the following ways:
- Certified Organic. The cotton (or other raw material such as wool, silk or linen) is certified organic or biodynamic by a recognized farming standard (e.g. USDA’s NOP). Between 100% and 70% of the material will always be certified organic.
- No Hazardous Pesticides or Fertilizers. Organic/Biodynamic farming methods use far less to no toxic pesticides and fertilizers so they don’t end up in the soil, groundwater and waterways.
- Soil Fertility is Promoted. Instead of being grown as a monocrop, organic and biodynamic farming practices use crop rotation which maintains the health of the soil and promotes biodiversity.
- No GMOs. Raw materials, like cotton, are not grown from genetically modified seed and substances used in the clothing manufacturing process are not derived from genetically modified substances.
- No Toxic Levels of Chemicals. Toxic levels of chemicals are not used in the manufacturing of the clothing.
- Saves Water and Energy. Far less of these valuable resources are used to produce the clothing.
- Reduces Greenhouse Gases. 94% less greenhouse gases are produced by choosing organic over conventional farming.
- Groundwater, Waterways and Soil are Protected. Wastewater from the manufacturing process is treated, eliminating or greatly reducing the pollution that enters the groundwater and soil.
- Packaging is Environmentally Sound. PVC, one of the most toxic substances on earth, is prohibited. Paper or cardboard is either recycled from pre- or post-consumer recycled materials or certified to sustainable forestry management standards, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Conventional methods of clothing manufacturing greatly disempower the factory workers that make our clothes. Slave labor, child labor, hazardous and unsanitary conditions, excessive work hours and low wages are sadly, not uncommon.
To shift this paradigm, Under the Nile’s products are all fair trade and GOTS certified which ensures that certain Social Criteria are met during the manufacturing of their product line. Specifically:
- Labor is not forced or bonded
- Workers have the right to join or form trade unions and bargain collectively
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic (must teach fire prevention and practice evacuation drills)
- No child labor
- Workers are paid a living wage, deductions from wages for disciplinary measures is prohibited
- Working hours cannot be excessive
- Discrimination is prohibited
- Employment must be regular
- Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited
Under the Nile’s entire product line is manufactured through SEKEM, Egypt’s premier Sustainable Development and Organic Product Initiative. SEKEM is fair trade certified according to the standards set by Fairtrade International as audited by FLO-CERT, the independent certifier for Fairtrade International.