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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

November is USA Month!!

November is a special time in USA, with Independence Day and elections that hold the promise of ushering in a new era.
The collapse of the Aussie dollar, from 98cents a month ago to around 60cents at the time of writing, has made Blessed Earth’s products incredibly good value for you and we invite all interested Americans to consider the following:
  • Free delivery during November*. That’s right, you pay no postage. Your goods will be sent by trackable Express Post International and will arrive within a week to most destinations. If necessary, we can stagger your deliveries.
  • The finest wool bedding range in the world.
Don’t believe us? Then consider these facts:
  1. It is fully certified by Demeter, a world first. That’s right, every step of the process from growing the wool on a Bio-dynamic farm; to scouring with organic, biodegradable detergents; to carding the wool in a pristine environment; to manufacturing to meticulous standards; and even to our retail operation – all phases have been rigorously inspected.
  2. Most wool bedding manufactures randomly smoosh slivers of wool into the outside cover then sew it down. Our wool is layered and will not go lumpy.
  3. Our quilts require only vertical (not diamond) sewing, meaning less heat loss and greater flexibility – a softer, more efficient product.
  4. Our toppers (under-blankets) can be made to a whopping 1500gsm. They are almost a mattress in themselves!!!
  5. People rave about our pillows as having just the right combination of give and support.

We also make in Australia a comprehensive range of underwear and other Demeter certified items. Please refer to the website (*This offer does not apply to mattresses or bed-linen.)

We welcome your feedback on the service we offer and look forward to hearing from you soon…

Raithe Handiman for Blessesearth
Enquiries to:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Prince Charles on G.M.

PRINCE Charles has lashed out at the genetic modification of food as the biggest environmental disaster of all time.

In an exclusive interview filmed and published by Britain 's Daily Telegraph, Charles highlighted Australia 's problems with salinity as an example of the dangers of meddling with nature.

"Look at Western Australia," he said. "Huge salinisation problems. I have been there, seen it some of the excessive approaches to modern forms of agriculture.

"If you are not working with natural assistance you cause untold problems, which become very expensive and very difficult to undo. It places impossible burdens on nature and leads to accumulating problems which become more difficult to sort out," he said.

Prince Charles said multinational companies played with the natural world. The world 's food supply was being whittled away by soil damage wreaked by scientific research, he said.

Big companies used humanity arid nature as a gigantic experiment that had gone seriously wrong, he said. Why else are we facing all these challenges, climate change and everything?" Charles, who has an organic farm on his Highgrove estate, is no stranger to contempt from scientists because he made similar statements to the Telegraph in 1998 accusing geneticists of taking humanity into the "realms that belong to God and God alone".
Yesterday he insisted reliance on global corporations for food would result in disaster, one that would ensure the ~What we should be talking about is food security, not food production.~ PRINCE CHARLES "absolute destruction of everything ... and the classic way of ensuring there is no food in the future".

"What we should be talking about is food security, not food production. That is what matters and that is what people will not understand... and if they think it's somehow going to work because they are going to have one form of clever genetic engineering after another, then again count me out, because that will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time." Charles, who has spoken and written about world environmental challenges for more than two decades, argued that small farmers will end up being victims of corporate takeovers of food production.

"I think it's heading for real disaster," he said. If they think this is the way to go ... we end up with millions of small farmers all over the world being driven off their land into unsustainable, unmanageable, degraded and dysfunctional conurbations of unmentionable awfulness." The Telegraph editorialised that his comments would put him on a collision course with the international scientific community and Downing Street, which has allowed more than 50 trials of genetically modified crops in the past eight years.

The scientific community argues that GM research is the saviour that will produce food for a burgeoning world population, but there is likely to be great anxiety that such a high profile opponent has emerged at this critical time.
In his interview 10 years ago, Charles advocated a future for British agriculture that revolved around more family run co-operative farms. At the time, he rejected claims that he was being atavistic: "It is actually recognising that we are with nature, not against it."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Australia Washing

You’ve heart of white-washing and green-washing, well there’s another practice springing up which sets out to make something appear other than it really is.

We’re calling it “Australia-washing” – the practice of making something appear as though it was made in Australia, when in fact only one component had anything to do with Australia.

That component can be as simple as the adding of a label in Australia that was made more cheaply overseas.

In the case of the bedding industry, even though we grow a lot of cotton and wool here, most of it is now made in China.

That is a fact that most if not all importers want to conceal, so the tendency is to use the word Australia liberally in advertising campaigns and make no mention of China.

We regularly get calls from customers asking why our wool quilts are so dear, when they can buy 2 for under $100, as frequently promoted on TV. When we explain that the quilts they mention are made in China, they invariably protest that, no, the quilts are made in Australia.

The advertising campaign talks about Australian over and over again, so that such a strong image is created in the consumers mind that they don’t question where the product was made.
It’s a bizarre situation. We ship massive amounts of wool to China, where it is mass-produced with cheap labour and returned to Australia for sale. That’s a lot of shipping and it’s a lot of work denied Australian industry in the interests of cheaper price.

Globalisation is increasingly being seen as a tragic failure that lies at the core of the decay of our civilization.

It robs us of our sense of and commitment to community, and ultimately it benefits only those who do business that way.

Next time you seen an advertising campaign sprooking about Australia this and Australia that, perhaps take a moment to reflect on what really is being sold.

Please consider also that there are probably no controls over the quality or chemical content of the product being flogged off so cheaply.

In the case of our wool bedding products, yes, they are more expensive than most. That is because they are fully certified organic products, not just claiming to use organic cotton or wool, and the costs of meeting those standards are very high.

In fact, no other business in the world has ever gone to those lengths to ensure absolute purity and respect for our environment.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chemicals in Bedding

Last week, we had 3 separate people telling us they were getting rashes from the bed-linen of a leading Australian brand.

Very little bed-linen is made in Australia now; most of it comes from China. Even our iconic Australian labels have gone there to save on production costs.

However several well-publicised reports have shown recently that formaldehyde levels in bedding from China can be over 100 times recommended levels. No wonder people are getting sick and worse – they are accumulating carcinogenic substances in their body.

Of course, those of us associated with the organics industry maintain that there simply should be no such chemicals used at all. They are unnecessary and deadly. The average consumer has no idea that there is a world of difference between certified organic cotton and conventionally grown and processed cotton.

It’s a sad fact that the vast majority of our consumer market is governed by price, indicating a deep-seated belief in lack. On the other hand there is a significant and rapidly growing number of people who don’t buy into that and who look for value based on the integrity of the product and the rationale with which it was made.

At Blessed Earth we have nothing against China or any country capitalising on cheap labour. They only give us what we ask for and it is ultimately our responsibility to make sure that the products we get are of adequate quality and safe to use.

One has to feel though that our Government has a central role to play in ensuring that imported products at least meet their own very lax safety levels. To do so is also in their best interests, as the cost of the bad health of future generations from the long-term absorption of traces of toxins in bedding could prove to be enormous.

We recommend that if it’s not organic, don’t getinit.

Monday, August 4, 2008

New websites released

Welcome to the new Blessed Earth websites.

There is one for retail (online) customers and one for retailers and both can be accessed from the website tab at the top right hand side of the home page.

We’ve wanted to do this for a long time. The old website did the job but it was very restrictive and didn’t reflect the professionalism we aspire to as a business. So we hope you like the look of the new ones and will enjoy navigating them.

Shopping online has gone from strength to strength in the 4 years we’ve been operating. In the early days, there was a lot of bad publicity about the dangers of it, however, touch wood, in many thousands of transactions we’ve never had a single incident.

Shopping online has proven to be safe, convenient, and economical, especially given the spiraling cost of petrol. In fact, it really has become the environmentally responsible way to shop.

We welcome your feedback on our websites. Please let us know if you think we can improve on them in any way and please bear with us if we experience any teething problems, especially with product details.

Each and every customer is special to Blessed Earth. Thank you for choosing to view our selection of high quality products – and hopefully for choosing to shop with us.

Retail Website:
Wholesale Website:

Radha & Raithe for
Blessed Earth

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What is Greenwashing?

At Blessed Earth, almost every day we talk to customers who have been misled to some extent by the advertising of traders who are cashing in on the trend towards organic products through “greenwashing”. Traders are popping up everywhere, especially on the internet, claiming to be selling organic products, aware that at this stage there is no regulatory body to prosecute them for false claims.

Greenwashing is the practice of trying to make a product, service, or enterprise appear more environmentally responsible than it really is. It derives from “whitewaswhing”, which is the practice of trying to make something appear to be purer than it really is.

The practice of greenwashing is usually intended to confer a commercial advantage by taking advantage of the growing public preference for environmentally responsible purchasing options.

There is an element of deception involved and that deception can be either blatant, or by failure to disclose, or by inference, or by inadequate checks on information contained in claims made.

  1. Blatant greenwashing would be a deliberately made false claim as to benefits conferred or organic status.
  2. Greenwashing by failure to disclose is where a piece of information that would, if made known, reduce the “green” appeal of the subject, is knowingly withheld.
  3. Greenwashing by inference takes advantage of public ignorance or misunderstanding and the association of ideas. An example of this would be the use of the word green in a product label, supported by advertising images of natural scenes such as a waterfall, even though the product could be toxic.
  4. Greenwashing by inadequate checking involves the making of a claim based on information that suits the purposes of the claimant, who does not take adequate steps to ensure that the information is correct. An example would be to market a product as “organic”, simply because the material from which it was made was claimed to be organic. Even if there were appropriately provided certification details for the material(s) used, the manufacturing process could have been toxic.
In the organic cotton industry, all the above forms of greenwashing can be employed by those who lack integrity or understanding.

It is said that the amount of organic cotton supposedly coming out of India far outweighs the amount of organic cotton actually being grown. It is common practice for vendors to call a batch of cotton “organic”, if minimal or no chemicals have been used, even if no certification has been obtained for the fibre. It’s also generally understood that certification can be “acquired”, even if not earned.

The lines are further blurred by the fact that even if a batch of cotton were certifiably organic, it could have been processed into fabric under conditions that did not satisfy the strict criteria.

There is also the practice commonly employed by some major retailers who, in the absence of binding regulations, are able to say their products are made from organic cotton, without providing any details of certification. So the consumer is expected to take their word for it, even though the product obviously contains, for example, Lycra.

Dyeing is another moot area, as there are relatively few facilities in the world that are able to dye fabrics to meet the criteria of organic certification. Dyes can be extremely toxic, perhaps even more so than the residual chemicals from cotton growing and fabric production.

This is especially true of products coming from China. Most if not all of the organic cotton clothing and bedding products being sold by Department stores in Australia come from China (some from India), a fact which they disguise as much as possible. Customers are invariably surprised to find that, for example, their “Koala Blue” sheets are made in China. Shame on you ‘Liv’…

For most consumers, the fact that that someone dared to make the claim of “organic” is made is enough. In fact, it is meaningless to read that a product is made from organic cotton, unless full certification details are provided and unless the operator providing those details has a good track record in testing the reliability of those details.

It is very rare for a product itself – and not just the fabric – to be certified organic. In order to obtain that, every step of the process from growing through manufacturing and even to retailing has to pass stringent tests.
As far as we know, Blessed Earth are the only Australian firm to meet those standards, with our Demeter certified products

Hemp is a fabric that has been expertly greenwashed, as most people have been led to focus on the fact that it grows in a manner that it is environmentally friendly. Few realise that hemp is naturally made into rope and that it requires a great deal of chemical softening to be suitable for clothing or bed-linen. All of the hemp coming into Australia comes from China – another greenwashed fact – and is dyed without consciousness about it’s toxicity.

Now that approval has been given to grow hemp in NSW, let’s hope we see on organic processing factory emerge for the fabrics that can be made from it. Then Blessed Earth will certainly support and promote them.

Friday, July 4, 2008

What's this blog all about?

Besides being the first business to produce fully certified organic textile products in Australia, we are dedicated to playing our part in creating a brilliant world for us all.

Not only is this blog a way for us to share Blessed Earth news and events with our customers, it is a medium for us to communicate our ideas and visions with you.

With that in mind we will be personally writing and collecting a verity of articles on world matters that affect us all, in the hope of engaging in a meaningful discussion that will bring is in touch with our vision of creating a brilliant world.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Product News

New Releases:

  • Sateen Bed-linen. This is now available in luxurious 341 thread count sateen. We are making it into sheets, pillowcases and quilt covers in our Australian (Demeter-approved) factory. It has a richer feel than the previous sateen range we sold and will not be susceptible to occasional pilling as was the previous fabric.
  • Chakra kids underwear. This is now available in briefs and singlets, made in our Australian factory. This will sell out quickly and we don’t have much fabric to do a re-run.

Coming Soon:

  • Peau-Ethique Lingerie. There will be several exciting new ranges of women’s lingerie and girl’s underwear appearing during the first week or two of August.