Organic Consumers Association

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Protecting Our Planet and Protecting Ourselves: The Importance of Organic Cotton

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Clothes For a Change Campaign page.

When picking out that new top or cute dress, the style and fit are the obvious attributes we focus on. But how and where -- and from what materials -- that clothing is made is important too, especially when it comes to buying organic. We know about the health benefits of buying organic food and using organic cleaning products, but what about organic materials in fashion?

If you are an animal lover, care about what goes on your body or are concerned with the welfare of others, take note: wearing organic fabrics has a major positive impact on your health and the health of our planet.

What makes organic materials, like cotton, so much better than the conventional ones? Organic cotton is grown in a way that uses methods and materials that lessen the impact on our environment. A big effort in the organic movement is to use growing systems that replenish and maintain soil fertility and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton uses far less water too.

The main benefit of organic materials, however, is that the crops aren't treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms. These toxins are harmful for farmers and workers, us as consumers, and entire wildlife eco-systems.

And yet, less than one percent of all cotton grown is organic. We can and must do better.

Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop in the world. It is estimated that each year cotton producers use as much as 25 percent of the world's insecticides and more than 10 percent of the world's pesticides; an incredible amount for one just one crop.    

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