The Importance of Organic Cotton
We know about the health benefits of buying organic food and using organic cleaning products, but what about organic materials in fashion? If you are an animal lover, care about what goes on your body or are concerned with the welfare of others, take note: wearing organic fabrics has a major positive impact on your health and the health of our planet.
What is Organic Cotton?
Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards. Its production sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people by using natural processes rather than artificial inputs. Importantly organic cotton farming does not allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Instead, it combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote a good quality of life for all involved.
What makes organic cotton so much better than conventional?
Organic cotton is grown in a way that uses methods and materials that lessen the impact on our environment. A big effort in the organic movement is to use growing systems that replenish and maintain soil fertility and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton uses far less water too.
The main benefit of organic materials, however, is that the crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and GMOs. These toxins are harmful for farmers and workers, us as consumers, and entire wildlife ecosystems. These chemicals have tremendous impact on the earth’s air, water, soil, and the health of people in cotton-growing areas. They are among the most toxic chemicals as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency. And yet, less than one percent of all cotton grown is organic.
Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop in the world. It is estimated that each year cotton producers use as much as 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides; an incredible amount for just one crop.
These chemicals can be deadly. Such pesticides poison farmers all over the world and factory workers have to breathe in their fumes during the manufacturing process also. According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. In the US alone, more than 10,000 farmers die each year from cancers related to such chemicals.
To make matters worse, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also found that pesticides unintentionally kill at least 67 million birds annually in the U.S.
These chemicals seep into run-off water after heavy rains, poisoning lakes, rivers and waterways. Pesticide residue has been increasingly discovered in foods, farm animals and even breast milk. Not only are these carcinogens responsible for thousands of cases of cancer in adults, they are particularly harmful to young children who can develop debilitating neurodevelopment effects.
We even feel the harmful effects of non-organic cottons and fabrics in our daily lives. Irritated skin, rashes and even headaches and dizziness can be caused by the chemical residue trapped in the threads.
These are some of the key reasons why here at Coexistence Apparel we're all about using organic materials. And it isn't just good for the planet, it also feels much softer, giving you greater comfort!
(Sources: Aboutorganiccotton.org, Organic Cotton Plus, Huff Post)