In PART I of this blog post we looked at the negative implications of conventional cotton on the environment and why choosing organic cotton is SO much better for the planet. However, that’s only half the picture. Choosing organic cotton is also much better for humans. It’s important to remember how close our relationship is to our environment.
The harmful chemicals used in conventional cotton practices continue to wreak havoc on the health of cotton farmers and those who wear and own conventional cotton products. Good thing there’s an alternative that’s safer for the planet, the farmers and the end users of cotton textiles!
Hazardous herbicides and pesticides are used to grow conventional cotton. Their purpose is to help increase plant growth by killing unwanted organisms. We often hear about how these pesticides negatively affect the environment, but what we don’t often hear about are the negative health impacts on cotton famers. The estimated number of people affected by pesticide poisoning every year is an alarming 77 million.
The majority of those labouring in cotton fields are in developing countries. The use of pesticides is harmful to the workers’ health, often resulting in illnesses that prevent them from being able to continue working and providing for their families. Medical attention is often unaffordable.
The good news is that there’s an alternative! Organic cotton growers aren’t exposed to these toxic and hazardous chemicals, which means that they’re not at risk of suffering from pesticide poisoning. Organic pest management strategies do not include the use of synthetic fertilizers, and are much better on the farmers, the soil and the surrounding ecosystems. Nearby communities are also safer because they’re not exposed to toxic chemicals which are commonly spread through air and water.
During the production of conventional cotton, a shocking amount of herbicides and insecticides are used. These chemicals can impact the health of those who wear cotton products. The chemicals used in the production of cotton remain part of the fibre throughout the life of the garment. Some of the adverse affects include: skin irritation and rashes, respiratory issues, and nausea.
What can we do about this? Choose organically grown cotton whenever possible. Wearing organic cotton ensures that we aren’t being exposed to the harsh chemicals used during conventional cotton production. This choice is also better for the health of the cotton famers and their surrounding communities.
Stray & Wander Team
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