Why Organic Cotton?
Because we care...about the environment, our children, our health.
10 Good Reasons To Go Organic
Organic products meet stringent standards
Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.
Organic food tastes great!
It’s common sense – well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food for people and animals.
Organic production reduces health risks
Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.
Organic farms respect our water resources
The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources.
Organic farmers build healthy soil
Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils.
Organic farmers work in harmony with nature
Organic agricultural respects the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem: wildlife is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fence rows, wetlands, and other natural areas.
Organic producers are leaders in innovative research
Organic farmers have led the way, largely at their own expense, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticide use and minimizing agriculture’s impact on the environment.
Organic producers strive to preserve diversity
The loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of the most pressing environmental concerns. The good news is that many organic farmers and gardeners have been collecting and preserving seeds, and growing unusual varieties for decades.
Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy
USDA reported that in 1997, half of U.S. farm production came from only 2% of farms. Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can command fair prices for crops.
Organic abundance – Foods and non-foods alike!
Now every food category has an organic alternative. And non-food agricultural products are being grown organically – even cotton, which most experts felt could not be grown this way.
Organic Trade Association www.ota.com
Organic Cotton Facts
Of all organic fibers, organic cotton is one of the most popular. Here are some facts about the growing organic cotton industry.
What is “organic cotton”?
Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.
How much organic cotton is grown globally?
In 2000/2001, approximately 5,950 metric tons (slightly more than 13 million pounds) of organic cotton were grown in 11 countries, according to a November 2001 survey conducted by the Pesticide Action Network of the United Kingdom (PAN-UK). This represents about 0.03% of worldwide cotton production. Turkey and the United States are the leading producers of organic cotton, followed by India, Peru, Uganda, Egypt, Senegal and Tanzania.
Cotton and the Environment
Acreage estimates for the 2001 U.S. cotton crop show approximately 11,459 acres of certified organic and transitional cotton were planted in the United States. Internationally, Turkey and the United States are the largest organic cotton producers.
Demand is being driven by apparel and textile companies that are expanding their 100% organic cotton program and developing programs that blend small percentages of organic cotton with their conventional cotton products.
Here are some reasons why organic cotton production is important to the long-term health of the planet.
Cotton uses approximately 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides (including herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants.). (Allan Woodburn)
Approximately 10% of all pesticides sold for use in U. S. agriculture were applied to cotton in 1997, the most recent year for which such data is publicly available. (ACPA)
Eighty-four million pounds of pesticides were sprayed on the 14.4 million acres of conventional cotton grown in the U.S. in 2000 (5.85 pounds/ acre), ranking cotton second behind corn in total amount of pesticides sprayed. (USDA)
Over 2.03 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizers were applied to conventional cotton the same year (142 pounds/acre), making cotton the fourth most heavily fertilized crop behind corn, winter wheat, and soybeans. (USDA)
The Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in 2000 in the United States as “possible,” “likely,” “probable,” or “known” human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin). (EPA)
In 1999, a work crew re-entered a cotton field about five hours after it was treated with tribufos and sodium chlorate (re-entry should have been prohibited for 24 hours). Seven workers subsequently sought medical treatment and five have had ongoing health problems. (California DPR)
It takes roughly one-third of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just one T-shirt. (SCP)
Allen Woodburn Associates Ltd./Managing Resources Ltd., “Cotton: The Crop and its Agrochemicals Market,” 1995.
American Crop Protection Association, “1997 Total U. S. Sales by Crop Protection Product Type and Market,” 1998 ACPA Industry Profile.
California Department of Pesticide Regulation, “DPR Releases Data on 1999 Pesticide Injuries,” 2001.
Sustainable Cotton Project, “Cleaner Cotton Campaign Tool Kit,” Oroville, CA.
U. S. Department of Agriculture, “Agricultural Chemical Usage: 2000 Field Crop Summary,” 2001.
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, “List of Chemicals Evaluated for Carcinogenic Potential,” 2001.
Information provided by the Organic Trade Association www.ota.com