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POTENTIAL OF
ORGANICALLY GROWN COTTON

Marketing research by several companies has shown growing consumer interest in products made from organically produced cotton. In response to consumers' concerns about the potentially detrimental effects of cotton production and processing methods on the environment, some manufacturers and retailers have introduced product lines of organic or transitional cotton clothing and home textiles (also called "green," "clean," or "natural").

Organic cotton must be grown without chemicals on land that has been chemical-free for a time specified by certifying agencies. Transitional cotton is grown with reduced or no chemical applications on land that may not have yet met the required chemical-free time period.

The market for organically produced food has grown tremendously during the last decade, due to concern about pesticide residues and other potentially carcinogenic additives in food. Consumers buy organic food because they are concerned about their own health or the health of farmworkers. Those consumers who buy organic clothing and bedding are not worried about the effects of traditionally produced textiles on their health; rather, they want to encourage producers and processors of fibers to use environmentally benign methods.

Production and Certification

As the demand for organic cotton products appears to be accelerating, some farmers have been willing to experiment with organic production methods to supply it. Dr. Andrew Jordan of the National Cotton Council says that, "U.S. cotton producers and researchers always have opted for non-chemical methods for control of pests where possible because excess chemical usage raises production costs and heightens concerns over environmental stress."

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Written by: Julia Kveton Apodaca


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