organic cotton vs. conventionally grown cotton
100% cotton, mmm… wonderful, clean, pure cotton. Or not? We think we're doing ourselves - and the environment - a favour by buying cotton, but is that really the case? Maybe it's time to take a hard look at the real costs of conventional cotton.
1. Cotton is grown on 4% of the world's arable soil. Annually 24% of all insecticides, and 11% of all pesticides used in the world are used on just one crop: cotton. It is estimated that less than 10% of the chemicals applied to cotton fields are actually doing their jobs. The rest goes into the air, soil, and water around the fields, harming or killing wildlife and farm workers, and severely affecting the ecology of the surrounding areas.
2. 3,000,000 people suffer the affects of pesticides poisoning each year, 20,000 subsequently die.
3. Cotton pesticides can enter our food chain through processed foods (from salad dressings to margarine and biscuits) that contain cottonseed oil, and through meat and dairy products since cows are often fed cottonseed meal.
4. Over 45% of all conventional cotton grown in the US is genetically engineered.
Conventional cotton is bad for our health, damaging to the workers who produce it, and destructive to the environment. Over 8,000 synthetic chemicals are routinely used at some stage during a conventional garments' production.
Greenfibres clothes are not treated with these chemicals. Greenfibres clothes are healthy for the wearer, healthy for the producer and healthy for the planet.
Organic cotton is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilisers. When you buy organic cotton products you are supporting sustainable farming methods. These methods do not pollute ground or surface water, or the air; nor do they poison farmers, farm workers or their families. What they do is improve soil fertility for future generations.
What we buy will be produced, what we don't, won't. The choice is ours.
Organisations to contact for more information:
* Soil Association (campaigning for organic food and farming and sustainable forestry)
tel: 0117 929 0661
* Pesticides Trust (an international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides)
tel: 0171 274 8895
* Labour Behind the Label (raising awareness of social working conditions in international garment industry)
tel: 01603 610 993