Via Treehugger comes word of Organic_Clothing, a blog from Shellie and Michael Lackman, retail owners of Lotus Organics. One post I found of interest was Bad Shipping News which detailed the requirement that wooden shipping containers be treated with methyl bromide, a known carcinogen:
The U.S. Customs and Border Protect Agency (CBP) requires that all wood packing materials such as pallets, crates and boxes used for shipments being imported into the United States be heat treated to a minimum wood core temperature of 56 degrees Celsius (132.8 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes or be fumigated with methyl bromide. Of course, fumigating with nasty methyl bromide is the preferred method and far easier than putting wood crates and pallets in a huge oven to be heated to 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Wood is used to help transport 70 percent of cargo shipped around the world so this requirement has significant impact on global shipping.
With regards to this:
Here’s another one of these nasty and unhealthy little secrets that surround global clothing manufacturing. Natural fibers can be grown organically and garments can then be manufactured according to emerging organic guidelines but when the garments are shipped internationally from the garment manufacturer to a distributor or retailer, the garments might become tainted during shipping from pesticides intended to prevent insects, rodents, fungi, nematodes, and various disease causing organisms from accidentally being imported in the shipping materials along with that beautiful organic cotton shirt or merino wool jacket. The most likely culprit in the lineup of usual suspects is Methyl Bromide – aka MeBr, MB, bromomethane, Brom-o-Gask Embafume, Haltox and Zytox.
…I’d suggest that this is yet another reason one doesn’t need to use off-shore resources and facilities. Sustainable and responsible manufacturing starts at home.