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Why Choose Organic Materials in Clothing?
Cotton is one of the biggest global crops and is largely genetically modified, or GMO, which means it is engineered to withstand pesticide use and is treated with some of the strongest pesticides around. Syngenta’s paraquat, for example, is banned by the EU but not yet in the U.S. and has negative impacts on both human health and our waterways and land. It also contaminates consumer products. Consumers should have concerns about wearing GMO cotton in addition to drying with it, sleeping on it, and ingesting it.
If you want to avoid chemicals and GMO textiles, the best way to be sure is to buy organic and make sure it’s certified. Our simple diagram shows you how the organic process works and explains why it’s so important.
Pesticides and Insecticides
When cotton is grown as a GMO crop, it is often sprayed with excessive amounts of herbicides and pesticides. One of the most widely used chemicals in pesticides, glyphosate, has been decreed “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organization (WHO), with links to many other serious conditions for people. Your risks of developing health issues when you choose organic is greatly reduced because organic cotton farmers only use natural fertilizers that are known not to harm animals, plants or minerals.
Support the Food Chain
Not all cotton crops end up as fabric. There is still a lot of by-product that ends up in the food chain, which is why choosing organic is so important. Cottonseed oil is produced specifically for human consumption, so it makes sense to choose cotton that has not been sprayed with harmful pesticides. When we don’t eat it ourselves, it often ends up in feed for cattle, so it ends up in our meat and dairy food chains. Fibers that are too short for use in textiles often then become food additives, and again, that’s a much more pleasant thought if you know they’ve been produced organically.
Save the Oceans
We often think about the pesticides sprayed on crops when we consider switching to organic, but when it comes to the clothes we wear, conventional cotton is often combined with synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic or fleece. Each time this blended fabric is washed, it releases synthetic fibers into our water systems by way of microfibers that are threatening our ocean ecosystems and marine life. Choosing pure, organic cotton means you avoid these synthetic fibers altogether.
Conserve Natural Resources
The production of organic cotton uses roughly 71 percent less water than GMO cotton and 62 percent less energy. The environmental footprint of organic cotton is far lower. It takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to make enough GMO cotton for a single pair of jeans, so the savings by choosing organic are significant.
Organic cotton doesn't need to be boring! Check out our New York Collection, which includes this Aqua Organic Cotton Hoodie, to add a pop of color to your wardrobe.
Once you’ve started wearing organic cotton, we don’t think you’ll look back. The peace of mind you get from knowing your choices have not had a toxic impact on the environment is strong, as is the understanding that your wardrobe has not contributed to the human rights violations we know happen around the world. As more people start to get behind organic production, the purchasing power grows and the chance to make a real, tangible difference increases. Organic manufacturing is growing, not just in the cotton industry but across food, health, beauty and other sectors. Manufacturers around the world are increasingly looking at their supply chains to make improvements, and many are looking to organic to help their businesses be more regenerative. Our t-shirts, which includes this Illuminating Yellow Organic Cotton T-Shirt, is made from 100% organic cotton and colored using environmentally friendly dyes.
Do Your Research
What are you actually buying? Just as “low fat” on a food label means the product might well be pumped full of sugar or other chemicals to artificially flavor the food, choosing an “easy care” item of clothing that promises that it will be easy to iron or anti-odor does not mean it won't be soaked in chemicals like formaldehyde. These chemicals are banned in some parts of the world, but not yet across the whole globe.
In addition to being better for us, the sustainability of producing cotton organically means that less pesticides and fertilizers are put into our soil. That leads to less irrigation, a decrease in fertilizer runoff, and lower emissions from the field. As a cyclical process, the whole ecosystem benefits, which is one of the key principles of regenerative agriculture.