Written by: Planet Ark
After decades of consuming pesticides from our fruits, vegetables and grains, we are finally beginning to understand the health and environmental effects that these chemicals can cause. But even those of us who avoid putting pesticides inside our bodies might not understand why we should go through the trouble of wearing organic cotton outside our bodies. Isn't that taking things just a little too far?
First of all, it's important to realize that the difference between organic and conventional cotton isn't just the lack or use of pesticides and insecticides in the farming process. Conventional cotton is also subjected to numerous chemical baths and treatments when the fabric is loomed and prepared for cutting. Additionally, conventional cotton uses dyes that sometimes contain heavy metals. Organic cotton is processed without the use of chemicals and either left natural, dyed with low-impact environmental dyes or dyed with natural colorants such as clay.
From a health perspective, there are no USDA approved studies demonstrating that organic cotton has any health benefits over conventional cotton, but organic cotton is being widely embraced by holistic practitioners (such as acupuncturists, macrobiotic teachers and energy therapists) as having positive "chi" or energy, which can benefit people - especially those suffering or recovering from illness. More demonstrable is organic cotton's ability to be worn by people with chemical sensitivities, who are unable to wear conventional cotton because they have allergic reactions to the dyes and chemical traces it contains.
Environmentally, conventional cotton farming takes a huge toll on our planet, being responsible for a full quarter of the insecticides used worldwide. Some of the most toxic pesticides are also used on cotton, and people consume those pesticides in foods containing cottonseed oil.
Choosing organic cotton helps to support organic farmers and gives motivation to conventional farmers who are trying to convert to organic practices. Spreading the word to friends and family also helps to raise global awareness about the benefits of choosing organic cotton. Hopefully, over time, this can reduce the amount of chemicals consumed by conventional cotton farming and help contribute to a healthier planet.
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