ORGANIC COTTON CLOTHING
The process of growing non-organic cotton involves the heavy use of as many as 35 different pesticides, herbicides, weedkillers, insecticides and fungicides. 250,000 pounds of pesticides are used on the cotton production each year. This is fifty times the average rate for other crops. These chemicals do not just go away, toxic runoff ends up in our river and lakes.
Rain washes the chemicals into streams, rivers and oceans. Marine life is killed, habitats are destroyed and drinking water supplies for humans and animals are being contaminated. Traces of pesticides are found in the drinking water of large cities. Today, in the Southern United States, some cotton fields are so contaminated with chemicals that they qualify for federal government's toxic dump clean-up programs. Many of these chemicals were originally formulated as nerve gases to use in warfare. In areas where spraying occurs health problems follow, including higher rates of cancer and birth defects in humans and wildlife. To whiten cotton it needs to be bleached. Chlorine bleaching adds dioxin - one of the most toxic man-made chemicals - to our water supply.
The most damaging fiber used to make our clothing may be conventionally grown cotton, it is the most chemical-intensive crop ever grown.
Cotton is not just a textile fiber but is also used to manufacture paper, medical supplies, insulation, acetate plastics and films. The cottonseeds are pressed into oil for use in snacks and junk foods and are used in animal feed. It is easy to see why traditional cotton production is a threat to our environment and our health.
Fortunately, there is an alternative: Organic cotton farmers are building a healthy environment for plant growth while reducing the risk of disease and attacks by pests. Their system prohibits use of synthetic chemicals and relies on crop rotation, crop residues, compost, nitrogen fixing legume crops, green manure crops, mechanical cultivation and that uses, botanical or biological controls with minimum adverse side-effects on the environment and health. Organic cotton production requires more labor. Weeds needs to be mechanically or manually removed. The farmers and their people constantly need to go into the field to check plants and the health of the soil, resulting in higher costs. As more and more farmers convert to sustainable cotton production, the annual production of organic cotton will continue to rise. The question today is whether the consumer will support organic cotton producers.
Help promote organic lifestyles to prevent pollution before it occurs. Pesticides, etc. are chemicals designed to kill. These chemicals do not know when to stop killing. Our environment and health are at risk. Your dollar is your vote! Buy Organic Cotton!
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