Let’s set the record straight- why is organic cotton better than normal cotton?
by Ann Burdick
One question we get all the time…what is the difference between conventional cotton and organic cotton? Why do we choose organic cotton? And is it really even better for you?
1. Organic cotton is healthier for YOU
Because organic cotton does not come in contact with chemicals, it is a hypoallergenic substance, so even the most sensitive of skins will not become irritated. It also has a softer feel than conventional cotton, and this affects clothing…people tend to think that the chemicals don’t travel all the way from the farm to their store.
2. Organic cotton is ~natural~
The World Health Organization reports 220,000 people die every year worldwide because of pesticide poisoning. However, in organic cotton, there are no pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, sewage sludge, irradiation or genetic engineering involved in the growth of organic cotton. This is a completely all natural product that you can (and will) feel better about purchasing.
3. It’s certified
Organic cotton is certified by an independent organization, and ensures that the cotton was made without harmful chemicals so that they will not harm the consumer or the farmer. The consumer plays an important role when choosing to purchase certified organic cotton clothing because it impacts the entire industry, and helps not only farmers, but it helps you be a healthier, more conscious consumer. Check the tag on your articles of clothing for “100% Organic Cotton”, to ensure your cotton is pure, and is not made with harsh chemicals that puts farmers in harms way.
4. The growing process is different
Organic cotton is grown through crop rotation, which supports good farming methods. This type of growth makes for durable, nutrient rich soil and it also has more organic matter so it even retains water more effectively.
5. Alternate ways are used to control weeds
Instead of harsh pesticides, weeds are pulled or hand hoed from their root in the ground. Using these techniques, there is no need for chemicals to enter the plants and soil.
6. Pests are also kept under control
Pests that interfere with the natural growth of the cotton are difficult to control, but organic cotton has more alternatives with less harmful effects. Pests are monitored by trap crops, which lure the insects away from the crops. Additionally, other species are introduced to the environment in order to control the pests, and some pests are even kept to maintain homeostasis of nutrients within the soil. This increases biodiversity within a natural environment.
7. Conventional cotton growth is harmful
Farming conventional cotton uses 25% of all the world’s insecticides, and approximately 10% of the world’s pesticides. This is not ideal for our environment and infects the cotton with unnatural chemicals, and can even effect our drinking water. There is also a huge loss of nutrients that occurs in the soil when mono-crop farming is used, which is the type of technique used by farmers of conventional cotton crops.
8. Organic cotton supports the economy
Even though some organic products are more expensive than conventional cotton products, individuals still pay the difference for the damage conventional cotton causes. This includes the taxpayer’s money that is used to dispose of the harsh chemicals, pesticide regulation, and overall global damage that costs millions of dollars to reverse. When you purchase organic cotton, you support local, family owned farms.
9. It also improves working conditions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10,000-20,000 farmworkers are poisoned on the job due to pesticide exposure. This can lead to health effects such as nausea, headaches and irritation of the skin and eyes in the short term. More long term effects include psychological and neurological problems, as well as cardiac and intestinal issues.
10. If you still don’t have enough reasons to switch to organic cotton
Only about 72% of your “100% Cotton” t-shirt is actually made up of cotton. The rest consists of chemicals that come in contact with your body each day. It also takes about a third of a pound of chemicals to produce one shirt. See Impact Everything for products that are purely 100% Organic Cotton, and make the switch today.