Environmental Impact of Cotton
Cotton is one of the most sprayed crops in the world.
In fact, while cotton only makes up 3% of the total farmed land area, it accounts for 25% of the insecticides and 10% of the pesticides used worldwide, making it one of the most chemically treated crops.
Startlingly, only about 10% of the pesticides used on cotton crops are thought to actually accomplish their job and the rest ends up in the air and water supply. The EPA estimates that up to 2 million birds may be killed annually from just one of the insecticides used on cotton.
Thankfully, most pesticide residue is removed from cotton during processing, but small amounts remain and the environmental impact is still tremendous.
If pesticide and herbicide use were the only problem with cotton crops, that would certainly be bad enough, but the problems don’t stop there.
Cotton also requires dozens more chemicals, including bleach, during the long process of turning raw cotton into fiber for clothing and even food. Cottonseed oil, though not technically considered an edible oil, undergoes a long chemical process to become a usable food oil.
Impact on Children’s clothing
Aside from the problems with the fabric itself, there is a bigger issue looming with many children’s clothing: finishing chemicals and flame retardants.
This is a tough issue. On the one hand, protecting children from fire with flame retardant chemicals seems like a great idea. On the other hand, the chemicals used in this process, including PBDEs, have been linked to various problems including hormone disruption, early onset of puberty, and developmental delays.
Over 80% of children’s items tested (including clothing, bedding and cloth toys) contained these chemicals and these chemicals were found in blood and urine samples of most children and even in breastmilk.
Why Switch to Organic Cotton
Organic cotton is growing in popularity and organic cotton farming is emerging as a major crop in recent years with good reason.
Organic cotton is grown sustainably and without toxic pesticides or other chemicals. There are strict guidelines for growing, transporting and processing this cotton to avoid contamination. Not only is this option much more environmentally friendly, it is safer for the farmers and their families and provides a long-term solution for cotton growth as pests are becoming increasingly resistant to pesticides.
Thankfully, whether you are expecting your first child and starting from scratch, or already have one or more children, there are simple (and inexpensive) options for avoiding harmful chemicals in clothing, and switching to organic baby clothing is one of them!
Source: Wellness Mama