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Organic Cotton T-shirts - More Reason To Switch!  

Take a look around you and you’ll notice that cotton is the main ingredient in most of the clothes that we wear and in the furniture and bedding that decorates our homes. Cotton has been called “The Fabric of Our Lives,” and its use as a relatively inexpensive material for jeans, t-shirts, and jackets has been ingrained in the lives of people all over the globe for centuries.  In addition to being used as a primary material in the clothing industry, a large percentage of the approximately 9 trillion pounds of cotton produced annually in the United States ends up in the food that we put in our bodies, via cottonseed oil. Yes, the same pesticide loving cotton we put on our bodies, we’re just as happy to put in our bodies through various brands of potato chips, peanut butter, salad dressings, mayonnaise & more.  Feel free to Google “harmful cottonseed oil” for more eye opening details.

Furthermore, cotton comprises 50% of the planet’s fiber needs.  The majority of it is grown with harmful pesticides and fertilizers that have been linked with conditions like reproductive disorders, compromised immune systems, and birth defects.  These toxins are often detected in groundwater due to tainted water run-off from agricultural areas.

In fact, The World Health Organization reports that 25% of the insecticides used worldwide are sprayed on cotton crops. Some of these chemicals are named as the deadliest on the planet.  Does this statistic make you think twice before putting on that t-shirt first thing in the morning? An outfit of pants and a top can contain up to 1 pound of pesticides that have direct contact with the skin.  I think you’ll agree, this is not the healthiest of scenarios for personal  or planetary wellbeing.

It is estimated that it takes 1/3 of a pound of fertilizer to grow a standard cotton shirt.  These synthetic fertilizers increase N20 emissions, which are 300 times more harmful to the planet than greenhouse gases. In addition, conventional cotton is one of the largest water users in modern-day agriculture.  Put these stats together with the fact that cotton clothing is manufactured in factories all over the world, and these factories utilize enormous amounts of energy and produce millions of tons of waste; well  we’ve got ourselves a problem.

Solutions are out there to combat this disturbing situation.  One involves greater numbers of manufacturers producing goods made with sustainable and environmentally responsible materials. Organic cotton clothing and recycled PET t-shirt producers are two that come to mind, and on the right track!  Equally, the consumer will have to play their part, purchasing eco-friendly or organic garments that are often softer and more luxurious than their conventional counterpart.  Certified organic cotton is grown with natural fertilizers and without chemical pesticides, resulting in a cleaner and safer environment for those who live near farms, and for the farmers themselves.  Buying organic and Fair Trade clothing equates to better working conditions, wages, and health for those who grow and harvest the crops.  The simple choice to spend money on an organic cotton t-shirt over its virgin counterpart  is a vote with your dollars, and a vote for clothing that looks good, feels great, and takes care to protect the Earth’s valuable resources.


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