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While some critics argue that they don’t need to wear organic cotton because “I’m not going to eat my shirt!”. At Blessed Earth we say there are eight reasons why people should use it.
Organic cotton is more durable than its conventional counterpart because of the wide variety of chemicals used in the growing and processing of conventional cotton (about 82 of them) which weaken the structure of the fibre and eventual fabric.
Consumers consistently report that organic cotton products feel better against their skin.
Chemicals are harmful and have contributed to the escalation of degenerative diseases in our society. They are absorbed through our skin and lungs, especially when body heat causes them to vaporize. Many of the chemicals used in growing, processing and dyeing of conventional cotton and its products never completely wash out. Therefore, they can enter our bodies through the skin. To test this, rub some fresh garlic on your heel and about 30 minutes later you will be able to smell garlic on your breath!
Being free of additive substances such as formaldehyde, commonly used in the “finishing” of conventional cotton, organic cotton has a natural aroma and is naturally softer and more durable than its chemical counterparts whose fibres are weakened by the harsh chemical treatments. That ‘new’ smell when goods are first purchased is usually the aroma of chemicals that have been used in the article’s production.
Conventionally farmed cotton is harmful to the environment, using numerous poisons which pollute soils and waterways - and the farm worker. Vast amounts of water, much of it needed to distribute chemical sprays, are consumed to produce the crops. Organically farmed cotton is gentler on the environment, and uses biologically-based growing systems. It is usually hand-picked without the use of defoliants, machinery or chemicals.
Every time we purchase a cheap imported conventional cotton product, we support the mindless practices that helped produce it. Every time we purchase an organic product, we affirm conscious, life-enhancing practices – we are helping to build a better world.
It takes a lot of well intended effort to grow cotton organically. Around the world, the experience is that organic farmers care for their workers by providing a chemical free working environment. The cotton we purchase from Egypt is Fairtrade certified and certification is being applied for the cotton from Turkey and India.
While some 70% of the world’s cotton is now genetically modifed, certified organic cotton is not.
Organic cotton products cannot compete on price with mass-produced items from China. You can buy a pack of five underpants from the supermarket for less than it costs Blessed Earth just in material and labour for a single pair of our underpants, however, to the aware consumer there is no real comparison. One product is saturated with dyes and other chemicals and is mass produced under exploitative conditions. The other is individually made from lovingly grown, hand-picked cotton. One product is made to a price for an unaware market; the other is made with integrity, offering genuine value to an aware consumer.
It is true that there is not enough cotton grown on this planet to clothe all of its people.
It is also true that the synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon that have been developed as substitutes for cotton are unhealthy for the consumer. Actually they are potentially carcinogenic.
The human body resonates easily with natural fibres such as cotton wool and silk. Even then, when chemicals are introduced into the growing and processing of those fibres, our bodies react and we can become quite ill. The chemical Formaldehyde has received a lot of publicity lately and there are many others.
Our skin is like a giant sponge for substances placed on it. When toxins are absorbed through your skin, they are taken-up by the lymphatic system, then into the blood stream and eventually the liver—the chemical-processing plant of the body responsible for removing toxins. By that stage the damage is done. It would be safer to ingest the chemicals.
When it comes to our children, we owe it to them to clothe them in natural, chemical-free clothing. Anything less and we are compromising their health and well-being.
Unfortunately, school uniforms have degenerated into the “necessary evil” category for most parents, who in all fairness are probably unaware of the harm caused by synthetic materials and chemicals, so they shop on price. Our children are being clothed in plastic and it’s harming them.
There are myriad references to this on-line. Here are just a few references:
What about Fair Trade?
It needs to be understood that fair trade bodies are interested in getting a fair return for the growers. We support that. We were once a fully-fledged member of Fairtrade and our manufacturing arm, Go Green Textiles of India, has recently applied for membership, even though the social accountability standards of organic certification are way more stringent than those of Fairtrade.
However Fairtrade has nothing to do with organics. The chemicals required to grow conventional cotton are the reason for the high mortality in that industry and the same goes for the processing industry, Even those working in Manchester retail have been known to become chronically ill through persistent exposure.
We should never dress our children in either synthetic materials like polyester, which is actually plastic, or even conventional cotton.
Certified organic clothing is the only real answer for caring parents who can afford to pay a little more.