THE TRUTH ABOUT COTTON
THE TRUTH ABOUT COTTON
Commercially grown cotton is one of the most chemically intensive crops grown. For United States cotton production of 13 million acres, an estimated 20 million pounds of pesticides, 30million pounds of herbicides and 1 billion pounds of fertilizers are used every year. Twice the amount of damaging chemicals are used to grow commercial cotton than are used on all other U.S.crops combined.
Worldwide, cotton comprised just 3% of the world's total cropland in 1989, but consumed more than 25% of all pesticides. Of the more than 660 million pounds of pesticides used by third world countries each year, 50% is for cotton.
These chemicals - some of which are known carcinogens - have severely contaminated our water supply. New research indicates excessive levels of herbicides and pesticides have been discovered in the tap water of at least 14 western states. Some tests indicate dioxin levels are 48 times greater than the standard set by the EPA. Since 1984, cancer clusters have been documented near California's cotton fields. The chemical treatments also make the soil infertile and allow it to erode at a rate seven times faster than nature can replenish it.
Organically grown cotton is produced without the use of synthetic chemicals. The soil is fertilized by cycling nitrogen from the air into the soil through alfalfa, a natural soil builder. Cotton is grown in these fields for about three years before it is returned to alfalfa for a year. Insects are controlled by providing desirable habitat for beneficial insects. Weeds are controlled mechanically. Organic farm sare certified and monitored.
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Written by: Kari Gray th Times
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