To put this fact in a bit of context, in a recent report by the World Wildlife Fund, 100 million cotton farmers produce approximately 20 million tones of non-organic genetically modified cotton each year with China, United States, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and West Africa accounting for over 75% of global production for the retail market.
The United Nations and World Health Organisation estimate that up to 77 million non-organic cotton workers suffer poisoning from pesticides each year, non-organic cotton is responsible for the release of US$2 billion of chemical pesticides each year more than any other single crop worldwide, and, regular cotton accounts for 25% of global insecticide releases.
Along the supply chain of regular cotton production and manufacturing, tens of thousands of acutely toxic chemicals are used, including chemical dyes, heavy metals, formaldehyde and aromatic solvent. Many of these chemicals are classified as hazardous and toxic by the WHO and are associated with allergies, skin rashes, respiratory problems, cancer, birth defects, and hormonal & reproductive effects.
Yet what is staggering is this is allowed to happen and that it ends up in our soils, in our waterways, in our clothes, in our towels, in our sheets, in our skin and in our bodies.
The key is to look for certified organic cotton as opposed to just natural cotton, or pure cotton so that you know what you buy does not have anything toxic in it.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers worldwide. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire supply chain of organic textiles and requires compliance with social criteria as well. Independent third party certification is required along the whole supply chain from seed to finish, which enables legitimate ‘organic’ claims to be made on final products.
To put it simply, certified organic cotton is produced without the use of any harmful chemicals, insecticides and pesticides. It does not use genetically modified seeds, nor does it use any toxic dyes, bleaches or finishes. Overall, this results in having the lowest environmental impact, a deep sense of social justice with fair trade practices and also the purest cotton, which is extremely soft yet resilient, gentle on the skin and good for your health.
With knowledge and the power to change and knowing the positive impact that organic cotton can make, we can make responsible consumer choices and help restore the Earth Life Balance.
What are your reasons for choosing organic cotton? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: This article was originally posted on the Two Six Magazine http://twosixmag.com.au/why-choose-certified-organic-cotton/
About the Author: Vinita is the Founder of Bhumi Organic Cotton and passionate about an Earth Life Balance.