How Toxic is Your Clothing?

‘Conventional’ cotton, once considered the natural fiber of choice, is no longer safe for our children. It retains harmful toxic residues, often causing rashes and eczema on sensitive skin. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is healthy for everyone! Clothing made with organically grown cotton does not retain toxic residues; it is a pure, natural, and breathable fiber.

Before the 1950s, cotton-growing mainly involved sustainable techniques, but now cotton is one of the most environmentally damaging crops grown in the world, resulting in wide-scale water pollution, chronic illness in farm workers, and calamitous effects on wildlife. Conventionally grown cotton occupies only three percent of the world’s farmland, but uses 25 percent of the world’s chemical insecticides, including Parathion, which is at least 30 times more toxic than DDT!

Worldwide, 25 to 75 million agricultural workers suffer from acute pesticide poisoning. As insects develop pesticide resistance over time, farmers desperate to keep up yields often resort to genetically modified cottonseed and heavier and heavier cocktails of pesticide poisons. Ironically, less than ten percent of those chemicals actually accomplish their task—the rest are absorbed into the plants, the soil, the air, the water and eventually, our bodies.

Petroleum based hydrocarbons (chemical fertilizers) are intensively applied to cotton crops to artificially speed up and otherwise “enhance” the plant’s growth cycle and productivity. The runoff of these compounds pollutes our watersheds and food chains.

The solution to this problem is to go organic. Organically grown cotton does not use petroleum-based fertilizers. Organic farmers rely on crop rotation, not chemicals, to maintain and replenish soil fertility. In order to meet international organic standards and obtain organic certification, a field must be pesticide-free for at least three years, and organic cotton farmers cannot use genetically modified cottonseed. Another added benefit – Organic cotton has softer, longer fibers than conventional cotton, so the resulting fabric is softer, thicker, and more durable!

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