Why Organic Cotton Is Better

Organic cotton may cost more up front, but it has substantial benefits over the long term.

| June 3, 2008

  • Cotton - use
    Cotton makes up 50 percent of the world’s fiber needs, but the majority of it is grown with toxic chemicals.
    PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO/DAVID SUCSY

  • Cotton - use

Cotton is often referred to as “the fabric of our lives,” and for good reason. We come in contact with items made from cotton every day. The clothes you wear, the sheets you sleep on, the diapers you put on your baby and even some of the food you eat have been made with cotton. But growing conventional cotton requires the use of enormous amounts of pesticides, which has a huge environmental impact and presents health risks for those working around it. It may cost less to manufacture and buy conventional cotton, but it’s better for the land, the farm workers and your well-being to choose organic whenever possible.

What Is Organic Cotton?

According to the Organic Trade Association, organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides or fertilizers. Methods such as beneficial insect releases, strip cutting of alfalfa and new weeding machinery help reduce the environmental impact of cotton crops. Third-party organizations certify that organic cotton farms use only these approved methods and do not spray toxic chemicals on their crops. In 2004, 6,814 bales of organic cotton were harvested in the United States, which is about 3.2 million pounds. That is compared to this year’s estimate of total U.S. cotton production of 19.2 million bales — over 9 trillion pounds. Globally, it is estimated that 120.5 million bales of cotton will be harvested.

Cotton and the Environment

About 25 percent of the world’s insecticide use and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticide goes to cotton crops. In 2003, that amounted to about 55 million pounds of pesticides being sprayed on 12.8 million acres of cotton, according to the Organic Trade Association. Some of these chemicals are considered to be the most toxic chemicals in the world. The health risks of pesticide exposure include birth defects, reproductive disorders and weaker immune systems.

In many countries, cotton is still hand picked; therefore anyone working in those fields is exposed to extreme amounts of toxic chemicals. The chemicals can also affect others in the community once they have seeped into the water supply. With so many products made from cotton, we are all exposed to these chemicals at some point. Even some baked goods, cookies and salad dressing contain cottonseed.



Water use is another issue with conventional cotton production. Crops use intensive irrigation and some estimates say cotton crops are the largest water user among agricultural crops.

Go Organic

Besides helping the environment, there are other benefits from organic cotton products. Working environments are better for those on farms and small-scale farmers save money by not having to buy large amount of pesticides. Consumers benefit too, some suggest that organic cotton products are softer and easier on your skin. Recent awareness of these benefits has increased demand of organic cotton and thus, lowered its cost.

Helga
3/7/2018 8:06:38 AM

Good article. Organic cotton is much better than usual cotton. The usual cotton is machine-cleaned. This is the first factor that reduces the quality of the finished product. Fall into main raw leaves and poisonous cotton seeds, the poison of which protects the seed from pests, make cotton "dirty". Then different chemicals are used. For example, defoliants. Organic cotton is grown to preserve both the environment and human health. The production of organic cotton does not use machine cleaning. Clothing made from organic cotton is very comfortable. To buy high-quality eco-clothes made of organic cotton, it is worth buying only in popular stores. Personally, I buy in the online store - https://www.idunloor.com/. Also, organic cotton clothes are very useful for children. For my wife and for our child I buy only clothes made from organic cotton.


Helga
3/7/2018 8:06:37 AM

Good article. Organic cotton is much better than usual cotton. The usual cotton is machine-cleaned. This is the first factor that reduces the quality of the finished product. Fall into main raw leaves and poisonous cotton seeds, the poison of which protects the seed from pests, make cotton "dirty". Then different chemicals are used. For example, defoliants. Organic cotton is grown to preserve both the environment and human health. The production of organic cotton does not use machine cleaning. Clothing made from organic cotton is very comfortable. To buy high-quality eco-clothes made of organic cotton, it is worth buying only in popular stores. Personally, I buy in the online store - https://www.idunloor.com/. Also, organic cotton clothes are very useful for children. For my wife and for our child I buy only clothes made from organic cotton.


manager
11/8/2017 1:53:24 PM

Organic Cotton Clothing has helped with a skin sensitivity issue probably from the chemicals and pesticides from conventional cotton. Healthier For Our Earth and Healthier For You, Organic Cotton is an Environmentally Conscious Choice that is Affordable ! My Organic Access has a nice line of affordable organics for all ages !




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