The cotton industry wants us to believe in that 'pure and natural' image of cotton. But in reality, it is one of the most environmentally-damaging crops to grow, as about 84 million pounds of pesticides are sprayed on US cotton crops alone in one year. And the dying and finishing processes use an array of harmful chemicals, which can be released into the air we breathe or absorbed by the skin.
Purity in your home.
Our bodies are constantly fighting toxins in the world around us. So it's a great feeling to know that home is as pure as possible. One way is by choosing organic cotton products for those items that are the most close to you, like bedding, towels, undergarments, tampons and other personal care items.
Since we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed, its important to take special consideration of bedding. All cotton sheets are better than synthetic fibers or blends since they breathe better. But also watch out for non-wrinkle sheets which are processed with such chemicals as formaldehyde, known to cause headaches and insomnia…ironically.
Organic cotton is a better value.
Some organic products cost more, and cause people to wonder whether it's really worth the additional cost. The key with cotton is that when it's grown organically, the cotton fiber grows stronger since it has to defend itself against pests naturally and it's not weakened by chemicals in the process. So products made from organic cotton last longer than conventional, making the value of organic cotton much better in the long run.
Protecting the environment
Cotton is the most widely used fiber in the world, in fact the average American uses 37 pounds of cotton each year. However, growing this cotton uses a disproportionate amount of chemicals - 25% of all insecticides and 10% of all pesticides. These chemicals are making their way into unintended places with ill-effects, including contamination of ground water that many rely on for drinking, and soil that is being stripped of nutrients until its barren. But luckily, we are wising-up. And as the popularity of organics grow, more farmers will be able to convert their farms to organic.
You can make the most impact by choosing organic for the products that use the most pesticides by volume when grown conventionally, namely cotton and corn. In fact, you save about a pound of chemical pesticides and fertilizers when you purchase just one organic bath towel.
And since cotton is separated and used not only for its fiber but also for its cottonseed, you are helping other parts of the organic system by purchasing organic cotton. Organic cottonseed is used to feed organic dairy cows and beef cattle, and organic cottonseed oil is used for snack foods. It's all linked together in one closed-loop, and our consumer choices have a profound impact.
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