June 08, 2015
Why Organic Cotton Matters
You don’t eat fabric. So who cares, right? WRONG. If I love anything more than being in bed, it’s being natural. Eating natural is one thing, but until recently I never really thought about how many chemicals I was rolling around in every night during my sleep.
I HATE TO BE THE BEARER OF BAD NEWS BUT…
Let’s face it: conventional cotton is gross. Cotton is considered one of the most chemically dependent crops on earth. The growth of conventional cotton in the U.S. uses 25% of the world’s insecticides on just 3% of land. Talk about excessive. So next time your about to throw down $100 dollars on an outfit from your favorite store think about this…
- 1/3 of a pound of chemicals went into producing enough cotton for ONE t-shirt.
- It took ¾ of a pound of chemicals to make that ONE pair of designer jeans.
-The same materials used to make the clothes you wear ALL DAY- EVERY DAY, are the same materials that you lay in for 8+ hours every night while getting your ZZZ’s.
According to the Organic Trade Association, “During the conversion of cotton into conventional clothing, many hazardous materials are used and added to the product, including silicone waxes, harsh petroleum scours, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia and formaldehyde- just to name a few.” The Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in 2000 in the U.S. as “possible”, “likely,” “probable,” or “known” human carcinogens. This is some disturbing news for those sleeping on conventional sheets.
Not only do these carcinogenic chemicals taint the bed we sleep in every night, but they are also known to seep into local bodies of water and even public water supplies! Aldicarb, cotton’s second best selling insecticide, can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin. it’s used in 25 countries and 16 US states have reported it in their ground water. Nitrogen synthetic fertilizers used to foster growth contribute to an increase in N2O emissions which are 300 times worse than C02… A.K.A. speeding up global warming! Greeaatttt. Future generations are gonna love us for that. PS. I’m being completely sarcastic.
NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS. Wait, there is good news, right?
Your bed says a lot and organic sheets are a fantastic and easy way to put your bed in line with your beliefs. Organic cotton is grown using materials and processes that have a low impact on the environment. It is produced without the use of toxic pesticides and un-natural fertilizers. Even better, federal regulations prohibit genetically engineered seeds for organic farming. Woohoo! Au natural and lovin'it! Due to the lack of chemicals, organic sheets don’t smell like plastic-y and processed… which is always a plus. Making the transition from conventional to organic cotton does not require sacrificing good taste. If natural isn’t your style, don’t fret. Organic bedding can be safely and stylishly designed. Trade in your matchy-matchy conventional blankets o'toxins for an organic set that has been dyed with natural colorants or low-impact environmental dyes.
Opponents of organic cotton claim that the water resources needed to grow it exceed that of conventional cotton. I would agree with them, but then we’d both be wrong. The lack of chemicals used in growing the cotton create healthier soil. Thus farmers don’t need to intensely irrigate their crops. Although making the transition from growing conventional to organic cotton does require more water initially, after a few years water levels return to normal or even less. Organic farming builds stronger soil via crop rotation and retains water more efficiently due to organic matter in the soil.
While its nice not to fester in carcinogens, organic cotton also has an incredibly impact on our society. Organic farmers forgo many of the health issues experienced by conventional growers as a result of daily exposure to harmful chemicals. Their yield is higher and organic methods support biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. Organic farming does take more time, skill and money but it’s worth it. As we enter a generation of diminishing resources, creating strong sustainable businesses is critical for HEALTHIER industry for producers and consumers alike.