Why should you use organic cotton? Consider these facts:
- According to the Sustainable Cotton Project and Pesticide Action Network of North America, cotton uses about 23 percent of the world’s insecticides and more than 10 percent of all pesticides.
- In the U.S., it takes about one-third of a pound of chemicals to grow enough cotton for one T-shirt. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 53 million pounds of pesticides and 1.6 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizers were applied to 11.9 million acres of cotton in 1996.
- In California, five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton are cancer-causing chemicals.
- Cotton is the crop with the third-heaviest pesticide use.
- In California, where over one million acres of cotton are grown each year, cotton production ranks second for total amount of pesticides used.
- GMO cotton now comprises 45% of the world's production of cotton. Organic cotton cannot come from GMO seeds.
- 99% of the world's cotton is grown outside the U.S., most of it in India. US cotton subsidies artificially lower cotton prices while production costs for GMO seeds and pesticides are rising, causing financial stress in the rest of the world's cotton-producing areas. India's once prestigious cotton belt is now referred to as the "suicide belt" due to farmers unable to accept growing debts and committing suicide at alarming rates.
Sources: Sustainable Cotton Project, Pesticide Action Network, and the Organic Trade Association
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