From Cotton to Organic Cotton
Most people think that cotton is a very natural fabric, but the opposite is true. Cotton is one of the most chemically intensive farming operations in the world and leads to massive environmental and health problems like cancer. Hashem made human beings to rule over everything that He had made…but not to destroy everything He had made.
The production of cotton includes intensive use of synthetic fertilizers, soil additives, defoliants and other substances. Environmental research has shown that these substances cause serious havoc on soil, water, and air. The chemicals drift into neighboring communities, posing long-term health threats to people and animals. They also indirectly enter the human food chain through cottonseed in livestock feed, contaminating meat and dairy products. Some facts about cotton:
Cotton uses approximately 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides (including herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants). Pesticide and chemically-treated clothing, diapers and bedding block the natural balance of the skin by trapping heat and preventing it from “breathing,” often causing rashes and eczema on sensitive babies’ skin. It takes roughly one-third of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just one Tshirt.
The Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in 2000 in the United States as “possible,” “likely,” “probable,” or “known” human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin). (EPA) The term carcinogen refers to any substance, radionuclide or radiation that is an agent directly involved in the promotion of cancer or in the increase of its propagation.
In order to fight this ugly production we can choose to buy organic cotton. Organic cotton is important to the long-term health of the planet. Fields are naturally fertilized, pest-eating insects are used to naturally control crop damage, and weeds are removed with hoes and tractors, as well as manually. Organic cotton is pure, natural and more breathable for delicate skin. Grown and processed without toxic chemicals, and free from synthetic poisons that could be absorbed into the bloodstream by contact with the user’s skin. Organic cotton clothing lasts longer due to its natural composition. The cotton that is grown in conventional ways is compromised and weakened by the chemicals used in growing, processing and dying of the cotton, all these things break the fiber down and create a weaker, inferior cotton garment. Organic cotton is softer, thicker and sturdier than thinner cotton that gets worn much quicker from use and washing. Not only the environment and the consumer finds many advantages in using organic cotton but also the farmers that produce Organic cotton report higher incomes plus using viable chemical alternatives protects their health.
We can make our own efforts to stop this disgusting production of cotton that harms man and nature. We can help by buying organic cotton! Here some brands that work with organic cotton or have a special organic cotton line: Kuyichi, Levi’s, Canboli (baby), and HEMA.
For more info where to buy organic cotton go to:
I started this research in context of my graduation thesis for the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI). I ended up by Goede Waar & Co; an alternative consumers cooperation that makes itself strong for clean clothes, honest food and no gentech. I was committed to research the production of cotton, its influence on human and on the environment. During my study of this I was surprised that cotton, a product of which I thought ‘a natural product’ was not natural at all! As soon as I was aware of this situation which is environmental and human unfriendly I try to be more conscious in how I buy my clothes. I hope that everyone will become more aware of these problems and that people will buy more ‘organic cotton’ for instance or ‘clean clothes’ so that this unnatural business of clothes will disappear.