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Organic vs Conventional Cotton – Is there really a
So what’s the big problem with conventional cotton these days, anyways? Cotton is one of the most common fibers found in today’s clothing and material products. From clothing, bedding, towels and personal care products, there are numerous uses and functions for this seemingly simple crop.
Unfortunately, conventionally grown cotton accounts for 24% of the world’s insecticide spraying, adding another 11% of the world’s pesticide use. Several of the chemicals used in this process are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents.)
These aerial crop dusters spray everything in the area of the crops – good insects, spiders, birds, (all these species naturally gobble up a lot of the pesky pests normally) as well as polluting the nearby soil, water and local communities and civilians.
With those natural predators now gone, opportunistic species flourish, further threatening the crop’s health. More and more pesticides are used to kill off these new bugs, which begin to develop resistance to the chemicals. Again more spraying is done using even stronger doses of chemicals, and on and on the vicious cycle goes.
These synthetic, dangerous substances are not just left on the crops to be forgotten about. Farmers and laborers all throughout the supply chain are harmed touching and breathing them in. The runoff can be devastating for the soil and water systems. And the second you throw on your favorite t-shirt, one-third of a pound of chemical residue is left to sit on your skin.
Since organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic
agricultural chemicals, these problems are not found. The standards to label
something certified organic are extremely strict and regulated. The guidelines stand
for the entire lifecycle of the crop – from seed to harvest. Organic cotton
uses untreated seeds, crop rotation practices, (retaining more water and strong
soil naturally) physical cultivation, and beneficial insects rather than
3 things you do when you buy organic:
-Protect our water and fish habitat
-Prevent chronic health problems in cotton workers (both domestically and internationally)
-May save your own life. The largest organ in your body is your skin. Everything that goes on it does absorb into our bloodstream, so it’s best to be as clean as we can when choosing products that we wear or spend a lot of time touching.