What are the benefits of organic cotton versus conventional? We all like the soft and cushy feeling of cotton and it is used in so many products, even in food — wouldn’t it be better if the cotton was Organic? It certainly would be better for our environment and our bodies to be using Eco-Friendly, Organic Cotton instead of cotton that has toxic chemicals and additives in it!! We don’t need to expose our skin to all those chemicals. So I am going to give you a few facts about Organic and conventional cotton so that hopefully you will be able to make an educated choice of what is best for you and your family!
Many products are made from Organic Cotton from personal care items (sanitary products, make-up removal pads, cotton puffs and ear swabs), home furnishings (towels, bathrobes, sheets, blankets, bedding), children’s products (toys, diapers), clothing of all types and styles, and even stationery and note pads. Organic Cottonseed is also used for animal feed and the Organic Cottonseed Oil is used in a variety of food products such as cookies and chips.
What is Organic Cotton?:
Cotton is one of the most popular organic fibers used for clothing and is known for is durability. Organic Cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers and third-party certification organizations verify that Organic producers use only methods and materials that are allowed in Organic production. They make sure that it supports soil fertility and builds biologically diverse agriculture. The reduction of chemical use is also a benefit for the air and water.
Organic Cotton is grown in 22 countries worldwide. The U. S. is among the top 10 producers ranking 6th in production. There has been a significant growth globally in Organic Cotton apparel and home textile products. The U.S. has a 26% increase in Organic Cotton planting from 2008 to 2009. The trend is consistently increasing each year.
What is conventional Cotton?:
Conventional cotton contains pesticides which include orthophosphates such as phorate and such as phorate and methamidophos, endosulfan (highly toxic to farmers, but not very environmentally persistent) and aldicarb. Other pesticides persisting in cotton fields in the United States include Trifluralin, Toxaphene and DDT. These are all toxic chemical insecticides and herbicides used to control insects and other pests. Although the last two chemicals are no longer used in the United States their long breakdown period and difficulty in removal ensures their persistence.
What are the benefits of Organic Cotton?:
1. Using organic cotton means that humans and animals are not exposed to toxic chemicals, when the fabric is finished no chemicals are returned to the earth in a landfill or entered into recycling process and our environment takes a giant step to be a much safer, more humane, world to live in.
2. Organic cotton farmers do not have to supply intense irrigation for their crops–the cotton plants use water much more efficiently due to inherent health of the surrounding environment. Beginning with healthy soil, organic cotton farmers need not supply intense irrigation for their crops — the plants themselves use water much more efficiently due to the inherent health of their surrounding environment. Although there is a transitional phase about 2-3 years, from a conventional to an organic cotton field, which has been commonly reported that organic cotton will require more water. After the transitional phase, water usage often returns to previously normal levels — sometimes even less!
3. Pesticides Contaminants that is used on conventional cotton crops seeps into local streams, rivers and even public water supplies. According to the Organic Consumers Association, “In 1995, pesticide-contaminated runoff from cotton fields in Alabama killed 240,000 fish,” “[Fourteen] million people in the U.S. are routinely drinking water contaminated with carcinogenic herbicides and 90 % of municipal water treatment facilities lack equipment to remove these chemicals.”
4. Low Impact Dyes–Certified organic manufacturing facilities will often use low-impact dyes that use clays, vegetables or minerals to create varying shades. Check your labels, but unfortunately, there is currently no labeling system for products that are made with low-impact dyes; you simply have to ask and do your research on each company.
The cost of organic cotton to conventional cotton is definitely more whether it is clothing, bedding, personal products, or any other product, but we are talking about our families safety and health, making our planet and environment safe to live in, stopping the toxic chemical pollution of the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. It is our world to protect and make sure we have a future for our families and those generations to come. Can you put a price tag on that? The truth is the price we pay now will determine what or if we have a healthy planet and future. It is your choice, please make it carefully! Next time you buy a cotton product whether it is clothing or bedding — make sure it is made from Organic Eco Cotton. For clothing and other items some wonderful blends of organic cotton and other organic materials are readily available and have the same substantial benefits.
Marla Gates is the owner of organic4greenlivings.com. Marla worked for over 10 years in healthcare, which helped her understand the dramatic need for changes in our society and how we view what healthy actually is. Her mission is education and awareness, so that people can make healthier choices and ensure a safe world for all of us to live in. Since she has suffered from Environment Illness or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), for 20 years or more it has given her the first-hand knowledge on what chemicals and pollution can do to your health. She knows how important it is to clean up our environment. So come join her, read her blog and learn how to live healthy and green. She believes that we can clean up our environment, but it will take time. Rome was not built-in a day nor can we make our world safe in one day! Each one of us needs to do our part to make it safe for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and all future generations. We can only do it one day at a time and one step at a time! Please join her in “Saving Our Planet Earth” “Go Green” & “Organic” to Live A Healthier Life!