As we are coming more conscious consumers, placing a great amount of thought what we put into our bodies, we also must be concerned about what we place on the outside of our bodes. One of the main items that we place on our body is cotton. Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop in the world. It is estimated that each year cotton producers use as much as 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides; an incredible amount for one just one crop.
These chemicals can be deadly. Such pesticides poison farmers all over the world. According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. Here in the US alone, more than 10,000 farmers die each year from cancers related to such chemicals.The harmful effects of cotton and other global fashion–related concerns are in on most people minds as we are learning how the huge amounts of chemicals that are placed on cotton. Additional according to a study by the Environmental Justice Foundation, "Between and 1% and 3% of agricultural workers worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning with at least million requiring hospitalization each year, according to a report prepared jointly for the FAO, UNEP and WHO. These figures equate to between million and million agri- cultural workers worldwide." In India, home to over one third of the world’s cotton farmers, cotton accounts for 54% of all pesticides used annually – despite occupying just 5% of land under crops.
We even feel the harmful effects of non-organic cottons and fabrics in our daily lives. Irritated skin, rashes and even headaches and dizziness can be caused by the chemical residue trapped in the threads. It is estimated that as much as 65% of hazardous conventional cotton production ends up in our food chain. (1) This is due to the use of cotton by-products, generated by manufacturing non-food cotton products such as clothing, textiles, personal care products, and bedding. These by-products are commonly known as “Gin Trash” and consist of cotton seed, stalk, leaves, burrs, twigs, and dirt not used in cotton textile production. The “gin trash” is then sold to food companies to undergo further processing to create cottonseed oil, vitamins, additives, and fillers for processed foods, livestock feed, fertilizers, and soil compost mix. The waste from this process pollutes our water supply and adversely affects aquatic life.
The Huffington Post recently posted an excellent Blog with more information and commentary on the issue.
The main benefit of organic materials, however, is that the crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms. These toxins are harmful for farmers and workers, us as consumers, and entire wildlife eco-systems.
Organic Cotton can rightly be called the most skin-friendly, most soothing, and most harmless natural fiber. While conventional cotton can sometimes be irritating to newborn skins, due to the high pesticides that are used to farm the cotton, Organic Cotton is never like that. It is the ideal material for protecting and cleaning newborn babies, particularly for making clothes, bandages, covering and cleaning wounds, baby crib beddings, baby clothes, towels, and thousands of such things.
As consumers, we are beginning to realize our responsibility to be conscious about our purchases and to recognize the power of our vocalized objections to make a positive difference for the people that are making the clothes we wear everyday. At Natural Mixologist, we have added organic washcloths to support organic farming.
Thankfully, there are an increasing number of brands and crafting companies specifically dedicated to ethical practices throughout their production processes . I have listed 10 brands that I love that source organic materials and are eco-conscious:
If your already changing the way you look at the world and recognize that change starts with you, please support the brands that are making a difference with your dollars.