Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let's Ban Innerspring Mattresses

One of our competitors, Organature, have written to us threatening to take us to the ACCC for making misleading claims that metal springs in mattresses create electromagnetic fields which can affect our health. Organature state that there is no scientific evidence to prove this.

We at Blessed Earth believe there is considerable evidence.

Blessed Earth used to make organic cotton innerspring mattresses and futons, just as Organature do. We then graduated to wool mattresses and futons, which, for reasons we will spell out below, we believe to be superior to cotton ones.

About 3 years ago, we noticed that Naturopaths and other "alternative" therapists were increasingly referring their clients to us. When a close friend was diagnosed with cancer and advised by her Naturopath to immediately get rid of her innerspring mattress, we started to look more closely at the situation.

Within days of researching we had ceased all production of innerspring mattresses. This was a costly decision for us, as at the time, we were selling 4 times more mattresses than futons. The motivation that inspired us to start an ethical business like Blessed Earth made it impossible for us to knowingly sell a product which we believe to be harmful to the well-being and potentially to the physical health, of our customers.

We don't claim to be experts. However there are people who are experts and we have invited one of them, Richard Giles, to give us a definitive report on the subject. It makes interesting reading.

First, here is the letter from Organature.

Blessed Earth 29 April 2011
To whom it may concern
Please be advised that before I send this email I have spoken to officer ACCC and it was recommended that I first addressed this complaint to you.
a/ On your website, other websites and other advertising you state 'ORGANIC COTTON MATTRESSES', your firm does not supply these and therefore that statement is classed as misleading and false advertising.
b/ On your website, other websites and other advertising you have an article: 'SPRINGS IN MATTRESSES', this article is misleading, there is no scientific proof of the statements made in that blog.
Under the circumstances we request that you make every effort to delete these statements/blog from all your websites, associated websites and any advertising.
If these points are not rectified by 6 June you leave me no option but to pass the matter onto ACCC.
Peter Byl
Managing partner Organature 315 Bartons road Buffalo Victoria 3958

(P.S. With regard to Organature's claim that we advertise organic cotton mattresses, we have no knowledge of this. We have no reason to advertise what we don't sell? Futhermore, we have no possible interest in selling them any more. Cotton lacks resilience and it absorbs moisture and bacteria. It's a wonderful fibre - as long as you can wash it.
If Organature or anybody can point out to us where we say we are selling these products, which we now believe to be unhealthy, please let us know and we will happily withdraw the material immediately.)

Now here is the report from Richard Giles:
Sleeping As Though Your Life Depended on It.
by Richard Giles

Bedrooms are the most important room in your house as that's where you regenerate your health, remove the cares of the previous day and prepare yourself for tomorrow. Many people today have their bedrooms loaded with electronic equipment which is likely to be causing problems with sleep, tissue repair at night and may even be contributing to longer term illnesses and general poor health. Electrical equipment can have subtle but profound effects on your health. Here's a run down on it.

Your body has the ability to repair itself while it sleeps. This is accomplished with your own internal electrical system that functions for you with very weak electrical impulses. Electrical impulses are generated by your brain and are used for cell and tissue communication. This happens because your body is 70% composed of water with a high mineral content making it very electrically conductive.

In the normal bedroom of a modern home, electrical exposure from external sources (such as live wiring in ceilings, walls and floors, plus electrical equipment like computers, electrical clocks, iPads and mobile phones and TVs) is thousands of times stronger than your body's own system. Plus the presence of radiation from radio and TV signals, broadcasts from neighbours mobile phones and WiFi plus the general EM fields in modern society all contribute. Long-term exposure to these fields (EMF - electromagnetic fields) can impair your natural ability for the cells to communicate within, and impact on your health in a number of ways. The average person spends approximately one-third of their life sleeping, which is why it's key to protect your bedroom from EMF disturbances.

All the cells in your body vibrate at different rates, and these tiny electrical impulses are for intracellular communication throughout the body. Because of its electrical functioning, your body acts just like a tuning fork. External electrical field influences (EMF) can cause your cells normal frequency rate to be disrupted and they start vibrating to the frequency of the outside source. A book called "Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis" by Dr James Oschman (PhD in Biology) explains this in much more detail.

James Oschman says in the book: "From the work of Frolich and others, we now know that all parts of the living matrix set up vibrations that move about within the organism, and that they are radiated into the environment. These vibrations or oscillations occur at many different frequencies, including visible and near-visible light frequencies. These are not subtle phenomena; they are large, even gigantic in scale. Moreover, their effects are not trivial, because living matter is highly organised and exceedingly sensitive to the information conveyed by coherent signals.

The Bio-Initiative Report (see, published in August 2007 by an international working group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals, documents serious scientific concerns about radiation emitted from power lines, cell phones and many other sources of exposure to radiation and EMFs in daily life.

It concluded that the existing standards for public safety are completely inadequate to protect your health. The report includes studies showing evidence that electromagnetic fields can: affect gene and protein expression, have genotoxic effects (e.g., DNA damage), induce stress response (stress you out), affect immune function, affect neurology and behaviour, cause childhood cancers (leukaemia), impact melatonin production, cause Alzheimer's disease, and promote breast cancer.
Why Your Metal Spring Mattress or Bed May be Dangerous
The vast majority of beds contain metal springs and/or frames. Unfortunately, these metal frames and metal springs can amplify and distort the earth's natural magnetic field, which often leads to a poor sleep and a range of other symptons including - headaches, hyperactivity, depression and fatigue, eyestrain, muscle cramps and even nightmares.

Other biologicial problems associated with EMFs fall into two major categories: 1) the brain (behavioural abnormalities, learning disabilities, altered bio-cycles and stress responses), and 2) growing tissue (embryos, genetics and cancer). Research has shown that the body during sleep must be more alkaline, and that high EMFs lead to acidity. Acid chemistry in the body contributes to more disease.

The metal springs in all modern mattresses are coiled and these regularly arranged sets of coils can actually amplify the EMF in your bedroom and as well as distort the earth's natural energy fields. There are two effects - one is having a magnetised set of coils in your bed and the other is to have the coils resonate to whatever equipment is radiating EMF around your room. The difference is that a magnetic field is generally due to a moving charge while an electric field is generally due to a charge with no net movement. Both impact on your body's natural fields.

In my work as a Feng Shui and Earth Energy practitioner over the last 12 years I have encountered many problems with people's sleeping positions and their beds. The worst is when a fuse box is located directly outside the bedroom near the bed. Then there is the location of a bed behind a wall where other EMF equipment is being used or when the bedroom is full of electrical gadgets. Your bed's metal coils will respond to these fields and resonate with them thus setting up a disturbance pattern in your vital sleeping area. The length of a bed and coils is often in tune with the wavelength of radio frequency waves.

Metal coils resonate to EMF fields. They will create what's called a 'sympathetic' resonate field and this field will impact on the body's natural fields. With rooms of EM equipment and wiring in walls plus items like WiFi routers nearby, your body can be subject to a wide range of EM pressures at night.

The Chinese see all matter and phenomena as definable into Five Elements. They describe the makeup of life into Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. This is a cycle which repeats itself endlessly. Each element gives birth to the following one and continues the process of life. In the Five Element understanding too much of the next element can drain the one before. Your bedroom and bed comes under the element of Earth due to comforting, relaxing, supportive nature of sleep and the room. Bedclothes and mattresses made of natural materials also come under th element Earth. If your bed is run through with metal as inner springs or frames, then too much metal drains the Earth element and the function of your bed which is to relax, rest and support you. Metal in mattresses drains the body in Feng Shui terms and is not recommended by any practitioners.

The Bio-Initiative Report (2007) in its summary concluded - "New regulatory limits for ELF (electrical fields) are warranted. ELF limits should be set below those exposure levels that have been linked in childhood leukaemia studies to increased risk of disease, plus an additional safety factor. It is no longer acceptable to build new power lines and electrical facilities that place people in ELF environments that have been determined to be risky (at levels generally at 2 mG and above). While new ELF limits are being developed and implemented, a reasonable approach would be a 1 mG (milliGauss) planning limit for habitable space adjacent to all new or upgraded power lines and a 2 mG limit for all other new construction. It is also recommended for that a 1 mG limit be established for existing habitable space for children and/or women who are pregnant".

In my own work I have found levels of 5 milliGauses or even higher in bedrooms and this is far too high to be exposed to all night. The accepted community limit is 2 milliGauss per two hours per day. The metal springs in the mattress will resonate to these fields and I've found levels of around a half to 1 and 1/2 milliGauss inside beds. Being exposed in this field all night can begin an accumulation process which affects your body over time and that, coupled with daily exposure to much higher fields in the workplace or school adds up. Today its termed electromagnetic-smog: environments where excessive EMF output is all around you.

Most inner spring mattresses contain highly magnetised steel. Try this experiment at home - take a compass and gently pull it across your mattress in a straight line. If the needle moves more than 5 degrees, your exposure to a distorted magnetic field is high, as the bed considerably outdoes the Earth's own natural field.

Start with your bed and bedroom. Remove all electrical equipment to a least 1 and half metres from your bed. Ban electric blankets, clock radios, TVs and laptops in the bedroom and then look at what your mattress is made of. If it has metal coil inner springs begin the process to replace it.

Happy sleeping.

Richard Giles is an Earth Energies and Feng Shui consultant living on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Richard Giles
Home & Health Feng Shui & Astrology
75/65 Crystal Waters
Kilcoy Lane
Conondale QLD 4552
Ph: 07.5435.0158
email -
Visit the Web - and

SUMMARY: We at Blessed Earth will continue to advertise the fact that we believe metal springs in mattresses are unhealthy. If Organature wish to report us to the ACCC for doing so, we welcome that.

It will be interesting to see if the ACCC acknowledges the information on the subject as being scientifically valid. Of course, the information presented by Richard Giles is only a brief overview of a subject that is generating a lot of interest and research world-wide and if called upon we will be presenting them with a full briefing on the subject.

We are also happy to publish in full any reply from Organature. Naturally we would have preferred if Organature had approached us directly, rather than take the matter to the ACCC. However these exchanges are healthy and the end result is that you the consumer will be better able to make an informed decision if you are preparing to purchase a mattress.

As an ethical business, we believe that innerspring mattresses should be banned and we are confident that they will be banned when public awareness on the subject is raised sufficiently.

Many of our customers are electrically sensitive and cannot sleep on them. They are like the mine canaries warning us that they are harmful - just like our chemically sensitive customers who cannot tolerate legally acceptable levels of chemicals in textiles.

We welcome any contributions from visitors to the website.

Here is just one of the replies we received from customers and concerned people who have not yet purchased from us...
Years ago, there was a meter box installed on my bedroom wall, right behind my bed. I slept in this position for many years before it started to affect my body. I became quite bent, my hands would be clawed and, at one point, I was unable to turn my head because my neck was so stiff.
On moving the bed 6 ft away from the meter box, I noticed (the very next day) that, on getting out of bed, I could stand straight and my hands no longer clawed.
A few years later, I moved to another home where a transformer had been installed in the street behind my home. After 3 months suffering from extreme pain in my body, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, lack of sleep and, would you believe, very noticeable memory loss, I shifted out. Before I moved, I had the house checked over for geopathic stress and electro-pollution. It was found to be “unfit for humans to live in”.
Eventually, I relocated into another home but, only after having it checked over completely before moving in. There were a few things to be changed, such as moving the meter box from behind the bedroom wall, which is where most of them are placed on the new homes being built today. The halogen down lights were replaced with safer globes (which are no longer available today). I was advised to avoid sitting within 7 ft of the air-conditioning unit while it was operating.
My beds were checked with the “electrosmog meter” and the meter would go wild when placed near the springs. The spring bed also started to become problematic, especially during more humid conditions, or when the weather was damp, as in winter. During these times, I would experience a feeling of knives penetrating my back. So, I invested in a latex mattress. I thought my problem had been solved. All I wanted was a decent night’s sleep but after a few weeks I was back to where I started; sleepless nights, due to the excessive heat from the latex building up in my body, creating heat rash and welts on my back, and a stiff neck and jaw.
Now that I have my new wool mattress and pillow, I no longer suffer any of the problems associated with the inner spring and latex beds. In fact, I am experiencing my most comfortable sleep in 30 years.
Testimonial from MK, Adelaide

Monday, August 24, 2009

Metal in Mattresses

There is a rapidly increasing awareness about the harmful effects of metal springs in mattresses.
We include this article from Dr Mercola for your interest and information. To use the links provided, please refer to his website.

Your body has the ability to repair itself while it sleeps. This is accomplished with your own internal electrical system that functions with very weak electrical impulses.
Electrical impulses are generated by your brain and are used for intercellular communication. This is possible because your body is composed mainly of water with a high mineral content making it highly electrically conductive.
Cells know when to divide by vibrating. Brain cells, nerve cells, bone cells, all vibrate at different rates in order to communicate with one another. In many ways your body acts like a tuning fork. When you vibrate a tuning fork (external electrical influence), any turning fork (like our body) in its vicinity will start vibrating at the same frequency or rate, and therefore will be confused as to how fast to grow. This phenomena actually has a scientific name and is called resonance.
In the typical sleeping area, electrical exposure from external sources (live electrical wiring in ceilings, walls and floors) is thousands of times stronger than your body’s own electrical system. Long-term exposure to these high-level electric fields can impair your body’s ability to communicate within itself, and impact your health.
In fact, the average person spends approximately one-third of their life sleeping, which is why it’s so important to make sure your bedroom is protected from EMF (electromagnetic field) disturbances.

How EMFs Can Damage Your Health

An electromagnetic field (EMF) is an invisible zone of energy that surrounds electric devices and wiring.
EMFs are actually comprised of two fields:

  • An electric field

  • A magnetic field

The electric field is created by voltage, which determines the force with which the electricity is pushed through wires. Most electric fields can be shielded by the design of the appliance, or physically, by walls or other barriers.
The magnetic field is created by the current, which is the amount of electricity being pushed. Magnetic fields, which are the main cause of health concerns, can travel through most barriers and for long distances, and are difficult to block.
The BioInitiative Report, published August 31, 2007 by an international working group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals, documents serious scientific concerns about the radiation emitted from power lines, cell phones, and many other sources of exposure to radiofrequencies and electromagnetic fields in daily life.
It concludes that the existing standards for public safety are completely inadequate to protect your health. The report includes studies showing evidence that electromagnetic fields can:

  • Affect gene and protein expression (Transcriptomic and Proteomic Research)

  • Have genotoxic effects – DNA damage

  • Induce stress response (Stress Proteins)

  • Affect immune function

  • Affect Neurology and behavior

  • Cause childhood cancers (Leukemia)

  • Impact melatonin production; Alzheimer’s Disease; Breast Cancer

  • Promote breast cancer (Melatonin links in laboratory and cell studies)

Why a Metal Mattress or Bed May be Particularly Dangerous

The vast majority of beds (90-95 percent) contain metal springs and/or frames. Unfortunately, these metal frames and metal box springs can amplify and distort the earth’s natural magnetic field, which can lead to a non-restful sleep along with a range of other symptoms including:

  • Headaches

  • Hyperactivity

  • Nightmares

  • Depression and fatigue

  • Eyestrain

  • Muscle cramps

Further biological problems associated with electromagnetic stressors fall into two major categories:
1. Brain (behavioral abnormalities, learning disabilities, altered bio-cycles and stress responses)
2. Growing tissue (embryos, genetics and cancer)
Research has shown that for your body to properly detoxify during sleep it must be alkaline, and high electromagnetic fields lead to acidity. This is especially true for heavy metal detoxification.
To find out if your bed contains residual magnetism and may become magnetized, I encourage you to use the compass trick that Vicki Warren describes in the video above.

Avoiding EMF Exposure is Very Important for Pregnant Women and Babies

If you have a baby, it is especially important for you to use a non-metallic bed for your baby, as their immature bodies are even more susceptible to EMF damage. A safer alternative is a wooden basinet or wooden crib, as opposed to metal varieties.
Further, Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD performed a small study showing that autism can actually be predicted based on the EMF levels of your sleeping quarters while pregnant!
He found that if you sleep in strong electromagnetic fields during pregnancy, your child will likely begin to exhibit neurological abnormalities within the first two years of life, such as:

  • Neurological dysfunction

  • Hyperactivity

  • Learning disorders

Geopathic Stress: Why You Want to Avoid the Spot Your Cat Sleeps In

Cats, ants and termites have an unusual characteristic in common; they’re all attracted to geopathic stress zones.
Geopathic stress is natural radiation that rises up through the earth and becomes distorted by weak electro-magnetic fields, created by subterranean running water, certain mineral concentrations, fault lines, and underground cavities.
Electropathological energy created by modern technology such as high and low frequency energy from telecommunication towers, electricity pylons, transformers, radar and radio towers can also contribute to geopathic stress.
Potential health problems arising from geopathic stress in your environment include:

  • Cardiovascular problems

  • Neurological disabilities and learning difficulties

  • Immune deficiency disorders

  • Chronic fatigue and irritability

  • Body pains and headaches

  • Sudden signs of physical aging

  • Infertility and miscarriages

  • Restless sleep

Sleeping in a geopathic stress fault is particularly harmful to your body, as during sleep your brain is supposed to rest half the time and is busy healing your body the other half. However, if you are exposed to geopathic stress during sleep, your brain never receives the full rest it requires to repair and regenerate.
This is why it’s so important to avoid sleeping where your cat sleeps, as for if your home is located near a geopathic stress fault, your cat will likely find it and sleep near it. If you don’t have a cat, look for areas where plants do not thrive, ant hills are built or termites congregate. These are all signs of a geopathic stress zone.
You can also use a geomagnetometer to measure magnetic fields in your home, and this may be well worth looking into, especially if you are suffering from any of the geopathic stress symptoms listed above.
At the very least, try moving your bed several feet to one side or the other, or to the opposite side of the room to see if it makes a difference in how you feel.

Tips for Creating a Healthy EMF-Shielded Home

There are several steps you can take to lower your EMF burden right now. Rather than considering these tips to be final solutions, consider them what to do while you are learning and preparing yourself to do even more:

  • Turn off all the fuses at night.

  • Shield your bed with a special metalized fabric to protect yourself from harmful frequencies that can disrupt cellular communication.

  • If you are constructing a new home or renovating one and the walls are being rebuilt you can install radiant barrier, which is a tough type of aluminum foil that will also very effectively screen out the EMF. This is what I did for my own bedroom.

  • Beware that cell phones and wireless internet features are not the only sources you need to be cautious of. Essentially, most all electronics will generate EMF’s, including the wiring in your home, electric alarm clocks, electric blankets, computers and lamps, just to mention a few.

  • At minimum, move your bed so that your head is at least 3-6 feet from all electrical outlets. If you are constructing the walls you can put the wires inside pipes, which will virtually eliminate the fields that are generated in the room when the current runs through the wire.

  • Turn off everything electrical in your sleeping area, including your WI-FI, cell and portable phones.

  • Never hold a non-corded phone to your head, and avoid using your cell phone when in a car with a child or pregnant woman. If you absolutely need to use your cell phone, crack your window so the radiation can dissipate quicker.

  • Sleep on a non-metal bed and mattress.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Textiles from China

There has been a lot of adverse publicity recently about the toxic nature of textiles coming from China.

The problem is that chemicals such as Formaldehyde are just so good at softening fabrics and rendering them wrinkle free that, without any controls in place, the tendency is to use those chemicals freely to develop more user-friendly products.

These chemicals are difficult to remove from textiles – they are designed to persist – and they are just as difficult to remove from the human body. So they accumulate in the body and in many people will contribute to an allergy or disease of some kind.

We enclose below a letter from Elaine Hollingsworth of Hippocrates Health Centre and founder of the excellent website


We have received some interesting emails in response to our newsletter about poisonous Chinese cottons. As an example, read what Anne Hills had to say about her experience with cotton undies from Best and Less. This fits right in with the terrible hives I got from a Best and Less nightie. (Click here to read my story.)

Hi, I've just read the article about formaldehyde in clothing and I'm fuming! About 6 months ago I purchased several pairs of cotton undies from Best and Less. They were cheap but very comfortable. I always wash all new clothing separately and hang everything in the sun to dry. At some stage after wearing the new clothing, I developed a rash in the "Ladies Department". Since I've always been prone to Candida, I assumed it was a flare up and treated it as usual. However, this is not internal thrush, but external and so extremely itchy that I sometimes feel I'll go mad. I've tried so many creams and anti-fungals that the bathroom looks like a chemist shop! It became so raw and painful that I finally saw a Dr. who wanted to give me hormone cream. I left there in desperation. I don't want to use some synthetic cream and risk an even worse problem.

After reading the article about the chemicals in clothing, the light bulb went on! I checked, and sure enough, every pair of undies says, you've guessed it! "Made in China" I feel sick that this has been going on for nearly 6 months. The undies must have each been washed dozens of times but the rash persists. No prizes for guessing where the undies ended up but it's hard to find anything now that does not come from China. Even though I have stopped wearing the offending articles, I'm still having problems and I wonder how long it will take to leave my body.

Thank you for writing the article, I hope my story will help someone else.

Anne Hills
Sunshine Healing Haven
Kalbar, QLD

This article came across my desk today: “Poison Blanket Recall”. Click here to read.

We have decided to take this matter on as a crusade, because people are in serious danger from Chinese manufacturing methods. For example, a friend bought a pair of shoes that were so poisoned after having them on for 5 minutes his feet swelled alarmingly and a bad rash appeared. This is serious! Our government is not protecting us from these dangerous imports and something has to be done about it.

If you or anyone you know has had reactions to Chinese clothes please email us with your story. We are going to be dedicating a portion of our website to this important cause. The word has to get out.

Please send this to everyone you know.

Yours in good health
Elaine Hollingsworth

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cancer & Organic Textiles

This article is written with the deepest respect for anyone suffering from cancer or any degenerative disease. It aims to present a perspective that is not readily found and may be helpful to some.

Most people will readily accept the notion that if they wear a nylon or other synthetic shirt on a hot day, they are likely to sweat. Even conventional doctors will usually recommend cotton clothing to a sick person. It is simply better for us.

Scientists tell us that matter is ultimately only energy (or vibration) that we perceive to be solid and various natural therapists have established, each in their own ways, that our physical body vibrates in a more natural, more life-sustaining way when it is exposed to natural substances. Conversely, when it is exposed to synthetic materials, it vibrates in ways that increase the potential for disease.

This way of thinking is fundamental for natural therapists and probably finds general acceptance amongst most of the conventional medical community as well. The difference is that natural therapists generally endorse holistic, non-invasive treatments of dis-ease, whereas conventional doctors tend to resort to invasive treatments from the outset.

In the case of cancer, invasive treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery seem to work in a number of cases. I know a number of people who had those treatments and are alive years later. Whether other treatments would have been equally successful can be argued and certainly I know a number of people who cured cancer holistically.
The point of this article is that anyone suffering from cancer, regardless of their method of treatment, will benefit from surrounding themselves with natural, chemical-free fibres. This applies to both clothing and bedding… especially bedding!!! We spend so much of our lives in bed and even more so when sick or convalescing.

A prominent environmental scientist, Kim Muhlen, BApSc., Director of the former “Healthy Dwelling” in Melbourne, explained to me some time ago that when we lie in bed we generate a lot of heat and that heat acts like a catalyst in a chemical reaction, causing minute traces of chemicals in synthetic materials to vaporise and to be ingested into the human system. In the case of a sick person or infant aged 1-12months, the ability to deal with these impurities is greatly reduced.

At Blessed Earth, we deal with chemically sensitive people on a daily basis and we know full well the problems traces of chemicals can cause to them. These people are like the mine canaries telling us things aren’t right through their allergic reactions. Others silently accumulate toxins until their system breaks down in one form of degenerative disease or another.

In our society, the use of chemicals is so entrenched that the organics movement has had to evolve to the point that it can offer aware consumers safe alternatives. It has been necessary to establish an alternative bureaucratic system.

There will surely come a time, perhaps not in our lifetime, when there will be zero tolerance on chemicals. We will look back on this current period of human devolution in dismay that we could have been collectively so stupid, while imagining ourselves to be so smart.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Keep Australia Beautiful with Blessed Earth

Keep Australia Beautiful has been selling T shirts as a fundraiser for many years now, often modeled by a who’s who of the celebrity world.

This year, in keeping with it’s ethic mission of promoting positive environmental change through individual actions, Keep Australia Beautiful has developed a range of Australian Made, Organic Cotton, Sweatshop Free T Shirts featuring the Keep Australia Beautiful logo.

Blessed Earth have been appointed the sole distributor and we have established a special section for the T shirts in the product categories of the home page. Click Here to view and purchase the T shirts.

The shirts are available for women (sizes XS, S, M, L, XL) and men (S, M, L, XL, XXL).

Sales of these shirts help fund programs such as:

For your enjoyment, we now include some celebrity models from the past.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wool Odour and Toxics Absorption

Wool’s unique structure and moisture absorption properties make it naturally resistant to the build up of body odours. Its complex chemical structure also allows it to bind harmful toxic agents from air such as those associated with sick building syndrome, with little or no re-emission of the vapours.

Sweating is a natural way that the human body regulates its temperature in response to hot conditions or strenuous exercise, and some people naturally sweat more than others. The body continuously secretes moisture through sweat glands(about 3,000,000 of them) all over its surface and this sweat would normally evaporate quickly. Sweat itself has no odour, but if it remains on skin for a few hours, bacteria develop and often lead to body odour.

Many extreme athletes with long term uses for clothing such as mountaineering have reported far less odour build-up using wool garments than with man made fibres, especially for wear close to the skin. Companies specialising in active outdoor wear are using the natural attributes of wool such as moisture absorption, comfort and breathability, but also its odour control and absorbing properties to provide a range of high performance layered products that can be used from next-to-skin wear through to outerwear.

There are several different ways that wool prevents and controls the development of body odours, and these depend on both the unique chemistry and the physics of the wool fibre.
  • Natural fibres such as wool, because of their moisture absorbing properties, allow the skin to 'breathe'. This removes moisture from the skin surface, as opposed to synthetics which do not have these moisture absorption properties. This moisture is taken up inside the wool fibre, making the conditions on the skin surface less favourable to bacterial action.
  • The fibre surface is hydrophobic and cannot be penetrated by bacteria; water bound within the fibre is not available for microbes to utilise, and wool provides a poor environment for growth of bacteria.
  • The wool scale structure on the fibre surface makes the surface uneven and difficult for microbes to attach to it. There is some evidence that the fibre surface exposed by loss of scaleedge material has an anti-bacterial effect.
  • The very outer layer of the epicuticle has a high concentration of a unique C21 fatty acid bound to the surface and there is speculation that this bound acid layer has anti-bacterial properties.
  • Wool has a complex internal chemistry that potentially allows it to bind acidic, basic and sulphurous odours. These are important components of body odour.
  • In high humidity conditions and in water, wool passes through a glass transition that dramatically increases its rate of absorption and desorption as shown in graph 1. The synthetics do not show these effects in water and under normal wear conditions.
If skin is in a hot and sweaty state, wool absorbs the moisture and this may cause it to exceed the glass until it exceeds the glass transition temperature. At this point the rate of diffusion of small and large molecules into the wool fibre increases and it absorbs odour faster. When the body cools down, and the moisture evaporates, the fibre falls below
the glass transition curve and the rate of diffusion slows. The fibre effectively 'traps' the odours. When the garment is laundered, even under mild conditions, the temperature of the wash water will be sufficient to allow the fibre to again pass through the glass transition, increasing the rate of diffusion and releasing the odour molecules from the fibre
into the water. The odour components are washed away.

Even before washing, wear trials have shown that wool socks were preferred for lack of odour after wear, especially when compared with synthetics, in conditions ranging from sedentary to sporting activity. Odours are prevented from developing, and when they do form, they are trapped in the fibre. After washing, wool socks also were perceived to retain fewer odours even though the wash conditions were cooler than for other fibres. The water sensitive glass transition ensures release of trapped odours.

Absorption of indoor air pollutants

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is affected by many things including outdoor air quality, people and their activities, heating and ventilation, building materials, finishes, furnishings and floor coverings. Air contaminants, particularly VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), can be generated by many indoor sources.

Wool is a natural protein made up of 18 amino acids. It has a complex physical and chemical structure, and 60% of the amino acids have reactive side chains. This complex chemistry provides wool with the ability to bind with several toxicants in air. Three important pollutants cited as health hazards in air are sulphur dioxide (SO ), formaldehyde and 2 nitrogen dioxide (NO ). Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen 2 dioxide are by-products of combustion processes involving fuels such as petroleum products and coal, and are produced by domestic appliances, open fires and vehicle exhausts.

Nitrogen dioxide

Studies have shown that the presence of wool carpet can have a significant effect in reducing concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. Comparison of wool and nylon carpets showed rapid initial absorption of nitrogen dioxide, with the wool showing improved uptake at varying concentrations. However, upon heating, the nylon carpet re-emitted twice as much NO as the wool carpet.

Testing using the carpet yarn only, removing any absorption effect from backing materials, found the sorption by the wool carpet yarn resulted in a 12 times lower concentration of NO when compared 2 with nylon yarn.

Sulphur dioxide

Studies comparing the rate of sorption of SO by 2 wool, cotton, viscose rayon and nylon fibres found that nylon and rayon became saturated very quickly, and together with cotton had an absorption rate of almost zero after 90 minutes, where wool reached a steady state at a low level of sorption at this time. The prolonged beneficial effect by wool carpet was considered to be due to the high acid-combining potential of wool. In addition, SO is a reducing gas 2 and sulphitolysis reactions at the disulphide bonds in wool may be possible under some circumstances. Because the sorption of sulphur dioxide by wool is a chemical reaction, the uptake is irreversible, with less than 1% of the absorbed SO on an exposed 2 carpet being released over a 2 hour period.


Formaldehyde levels in indoor air can often exceed recommended levels, as formaldehyde is commonly used in resin-based wood products such as chipboard. The formaldehyde is slowly released as the resin hydrolyses, and emissions increase with temperature and humidity. Formaldehyde has a high reactivity to proteins such as wool, it reacts irreversibly with reactive side chains on the protein chains and reemission does not occur. Wool is able to effectively and permanently remove formaldehyde from indoor air. If the temperature and humidity increase, and increase the rate of emission of formaldehyde, wool becomes more reactive and absorbs the formaldehyde even faster. Research has shown a rapid sorption of formaldehyde by wool at both high and low concentrations. Practical trials involving the use of wool as indoor furnishings such as carpet or wall coverings in contaminated buildings have demonstrated the reduction of formaldehyde concentration to less than 0.05 ppm (lower than WHO recommendations).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

About Latex

Almost every day at least one customer will ask us about the relative merits of latex in mattresses, so we’ve set out this statement of our understanding about it.
Latex has become very fashionable and it was tempting to stock it when we first got into bedding. After all, latex mattresses do last a long time and are dust mite resistant.
However those who sell latex mattresses will not volunteer information about the very shortcomings which stopped us from trading the product in the first place.
Here are some of them:

  • It’s not a natural fibre. Latex is marketed as “natural” but in reality it’s a highly processed, man-made substance. It’s natural when it comes out of the rubber tree but that’s about the end of the matter. It has to be whipped into foam at high temperatures (vulcanized) and with the help of some setting agents, then triple filtered to try to get the smell out. It’s a bit like saying that polyurethane foam is natural because it comes from oil which comes out of the ground.
  • Despite the filtering process, it smells, and people are forever telling us they don’t like it and can’t get used to it. Numerous customers have had to get rid of their latex mattress because of that.
  • It doesn’t breathe. The latex marketers will go to great lengths to explain how they put holes in it to allow (some) ventilation; however this is no comparison to the way wool and even cotton naturally breathe.
  • Latex overheats many people and even bedding stores will tell you that latex mattresses “sleep warm”. People who tend to perspire (mostly males) will very likely have problems.
  • Latex mattresses usually have some sort of pillow top, usually wool, partly for comfort and partly for ventilation. However what the bedding industry calls wool is almost invariably a wool/Dacron blend; more man-made substances in a “natural” product.
  • If you are considering buying a latex mattress, at least have it tested by a Kinesiologist or similarly qualified person to see if it is suitable for you. From all of the experiences we have with this, the human body does not like being near latex. It is a man-made, not natural substance. If your body doesn’t like it, that means it is being subtly irritated, even though the mattress may be well constructed.
  • We know from our countless chemically-sensitive customers that latex is invariably out of the question for them. These people are like the mine canaries, indicating what is safe for the body and what isn’t, through their super-sensitive reactions. If they can’t use it then it’s not really pure.
  • Latex is an imported substance.

Not everyone has a bad experience with latex and perhaps at Blessed Earth we hear mostly from people who have had one, as they look for a purer alternative.
However the above case needs to be put for your own careful consideration.