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Organic Cotton

You are making a great choice by buying clothing that is made from organic fabrics such as organic cotton. Organic fashion is the way to go! View our Organic baby Clothes, Organic Kids Clothing, Organic Womens Clothing , Organic Mens Clothing‘

My Heart Beats Green specialises in organic cotton clothing. The fabrics we carefully select are made from certified organic yarn under the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) by Control Union.

We are seeing the words: organic fashion, eco, ethical, sustainable, green clothes more and more in our daily lives. Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental and social impacts of their spending decisions, and are changing what they want and their expectations. The big brands and retailers are responding – by introducing new products and services, and making this change known through their marketing. We are starting to see a lot more organic fashion.

In the world of fashion, the organic textile industry is growing from a niche into a mainstream market.

According to a report by Textile Exchange (formerly Organic Exchange) released in September 2011, the organic textiles industry grew 20% to an estimated $5.61 billion in 2010. Textile Exchange, which works with the entire organic cotton and sustainable fibre value chain, has stated that consumers continue to be committed to supporting the use of organic cotton; while brands and retailers continue to make their products more sustainable through the use of sustainable fibres and safer and more innovative manufacturing processes. Textile Exchange projects the global organic cotton market will increase another 20% in 2011 to result in an estimated $6.2 billion market in 2011 and $7.4 billion market in 2012.

Although organic cotton represents a small fraction of all cotton produced, it has continued a steady growth over the last decade. For example, in 2004-05, organic cotton production made up 0.1% of total cotton fibre production, which grew to 1.2% of global cotton production in 2010. In 2007-08, organic cotton fibre production grew 152% over the previous year’s production. In 2008-09, the growth was 20%, and 15% in 2009-10.

Organic cotton is now grown in a reported 23 countries – places such as the USA, Turkey, Uganda, Egypt, India, South East Asia, West Africa, and Peru. There is said to be more than 250,000 organic cotton farmers.

Organic cotton is beautiful and soft, made free from chemicals and allows the skin to breath.

What is organic cotton?

More and more people are looking for healthy lifestyle options and are concerned about the health of the planet. Many people say they can taste the difference between organic and conventional foods, and we think the same goes for clothes - you can feel the difference with natural fabrics and ‘green clothes’. People are recognizing the difference between organic and conventional cotton, so instead of going with the cheapest option, they are now consciously choosing organic cotton clothing and organic fashion.

Often cotton is regarded as a natural fabric. However, there are many ethical and environmental issues in the way it is grown. Consumers are still unaware of the environmental impacts in the farming of conventional cotton. An example of this is the ecological devastation of the Aral Sea, Asia. It is one of the most visible disasters on the planet due to the growing of conventional cotton. Have a look at the differences below when deciding organic cotton fabric or conventional.

Our consumption choices determine the health of our environment for future generations.

Everything is dependent on our conscious decisions - from the health of the farmer, the quality of the soil, the health of wildlife, and the health of our loved ones.

Cotton covers 2.5% of the world's cultivated land yet uses 25% of the world's insecticides, more than any other single major crop. The volume of insecticide usage is one issue; another is the toxicity of the chemicals being use. Of insecticides commonly used on cotton:

  • 1 in 3 are banned by the EU
  • 76% are classed by the World Health Organisation as ‘extremely’ ‘highly’ or ‘moderately’ hazardous for acute toxicity (acute toxicity refers to the health effects caused immediately or shortly after exposure)
  • 34% are suspected or known carcinogens
  • 43% are suspected ‘endocrine disrupters’ – this means they interfere with the body’s hormone systems and may therefore increase the risk of a variety of health problems

Source: PAN UK (Pesticide Action Network UK)

Here’s some reason why cotton must be farmed organically:

Cotton farmers around the world are suffering health problems. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, farmers in many developing countries use antiquated and dangerous pesticide application equipment, resulting in spills and poisonings.
In Pakistan, one of the top five cotton producing countries, approximately 50% of applied pesticides are wasted due to poor spraying machinery and inappropriate application. Pesticide poisoning remains a daily reality among agricultural workers in developing countries, where up to 14% of all occupational injuries in the agricultural sector and 10% of all fatal injuries can be attributed to pesticides. UN info

Birds: It has been estimated that pesticides unintentionally kill at least 67 million birds in the U.S. each year, and it is likely they kill many more. Estimates of bird kills from pesticides are notoriously low because many birds remain hidden in brush, are carried away by scavengers or die away from treated areas where they won’t be counted. In one case, a breeding colony of laughing gulls near Corpus Christi, Texas, was devastated when methyl parathion was applied to cotton three miles away. More than 100 dead adults were found and 25% of the colony’s chicks were killed. Source: PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America)

Livestock: Meat and milk contaminated by pesticide-laden cotton straw. In 1994, Australian beef was found to be contaminated with the cotton insecticide Helix® (chlorfluazuron), most likely because cattle had been fed contaminated cotton straw. In response, several countries suspended beef imports from Australia. One year later, farmers were alarmed to discover that newborn calves were also contaminated with Helix, apparently because it was passed through their mother's milk. In a similar case, 23 farms in New South Wales and Queensland were placed in quarantine after inspectors discovered high levels of endosulfan in beef cattle, possibly due to endosulfan spray drift contaminating grazing land. Since 1987, Australian beef exporters have lost millions of dollars due to concerns about chemical contamination. Source: PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America)

Fish killed by pesticide run-off: In 1995, pesticide-contaminated runoff from cotton fields killed at least 240,000 fish in Alabama. Shortly after farmers had applied pesticides containing endosulfan and methyl parathion to cotton fields, heavy rains washed them into the water. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries stated that there was no indication that the pesticides were applied in an illegal manner. Source: PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America)

 

Cotton can be produced in an environmentally friendly way

Organic cotton Conventional cotton
Seeds GMO-free (genetically modified organisms); untreated Treated with fungicides, insecticides. Possible genetic modification
Soil Crop rotation; cover cropping, better retention of moisture; higher concentrations of organic matter Synthetic fertilisers, loss of soil due to monocrop culture, intensive irrigation
Weed and insect control Beneficial insects and ‘trap crops’ used; flame weeding, and cultivation; border management of vegetation (to increase population of native beneficials); use of certain biopesticides such as bacteria, virus and fungal insect pathogens Aerial spraying of insecticides and pesticides; nine of the most commonly used pesticides are known cancer-causing agents
Harvesting Natural defoliation from freezing temperatures or through the use of water management Defoliation induced with toxic chemicals
Finishing Soft scour in warm water with soda Chlorine bleaching is used; toxic by-products produced and released into the environment via the process
Dyeing Low impact, fibre reactive used with low metal or sulphur content High temperature with heavy metals and sulphur content (can leach into skin as well as ecosystem
Printing Low impact, water based inks with no heavy metals Pigments may be petroleum based and contain heavy metals. Run off easily spills into waterways and ecosystems