The truth about CONVENTIONAL COTTON
- Cotton is one of the most widely traded commodities on earth. It is versatile and as such, is used for a vast variety of food and fibre products. – Cotton represents an essential component of foreign exchange earnings for more than fifty countries.
Yet the simple act of growing and harvesting the one kilo of cotton fibre needed to make a simple T-shirt takes an enormous toll on the earth’s air, water, and soil, and has significant impacts on the health of people in cotton growing areas.
“According to 1995 data, for example, United States farmers applied nearly one-third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for every pound of cotton harvested. When all nineteen cotton-growing states are tallied, the crop accounts for twenty-five percent of all the pesticides used in the U.S. Some of these chemicals are among the most toxic classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In developing countries, where regulations are less stringent, the negative impacts are even more severe.” [www.sustainablecotton.org]
The good news is that positive alternatives to conventional cotton and its related businesses are available. Over the past decade, a small number of farmers and manufacturers have pioneered the market for organically grown cotton, producing fibres and clothing while significantly reducing toxic chemicals.
The truth about ORGANIC COTTON
Organic cotton is grown and processed without the use of harmful chemicals. Unlike conventional cotton, sustainable farming practices have been used to produce organic cotton without chemical pesticides, defoliants or fertilisers. These practices do not pollute ground or surface water, soil or air. Organic cotton is safer for farmers, for you, for your children and for the environment. Organic cotton feels softer, smells cleaner and is less likely to trigger allergies.
Comparing Conventional & Organic Cotton
Con: The chemicals used on conventional cotton are among the most toxic substances used in farming, the runoff from irrigation seeps into our drinking water and contaminates it.
Org: Organic farms respect our water resources by eliminating the use of chemicals that pollute. The primary focus is building healthy soils together with protecting and conserving water resources.
CON: An estimated 25 million people worldwide are poisoned by pesticides every year.
ORG: Organic production reduces health risks by preventing harmful chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.
CON: Conventional cotton occupies 3% of the world’s farmland, but uses 25% of the world’s chemical pesticides and fertilisers.
ORG: International production of organic cotton was 6,368 metric tons, or in excess of 14million pounds. All grown without harmful chemicals.
The choice is simple – ecologically sustainable living.
Together we can make a difference.
The above information has been sourced from a variety of organic cotton growers and manufacturers information, including our suppliers and [www.sustainablecotton.org]