Organic Cotton: Is it Worth the Cost?
04.11.11 Organic Cotton: Is it Worth the Cost?
We know that organic cotton is more expensive than conventionally grown cotton. Along with that extra cost comes some significant benefits that we feel are worth the investment. First off, organic cotton is grown without the use of harmful chemicals, namely pesticides and fertilizers which contain poisonous materials. These materials are known carcinogens and are acutely toxic.
The use of these chemicals ranges from country to country where cotton is typically grown. The effects of using these chemicals are only definitive in how they result in the health of cotton farmers and workers who are in direct contact with chemicals. As you can imagine, it is far from good. The symptoms from pesticide exposure are too long to list, but the bottom line is that they are known reproductive and developmental toxicants. According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, "Just a single drop of the commonly applied pesticide, Aldicarb, when absorbed into the skin, is capable of killing an adult".
The EJF explains in their report on conventional cotton, "During processing, conventional cotton is subjected to chlorine bleach, heavy metal dyes and formaldehyde resins. The bleach is almost worse than pesticides, causing a myriad of health problems and vast environmental damage. As conventional cotton accounts for 16% of global insecticide releases, more than any other crop, there is a growing demand for organic cotton". Currently, the demand outstrips the supply. Of the many positive impacts, growing organic cotton allows the ecosystem where it has been produced, to remain free of contaminants, and chemicals have not poisoned the farmer and his or her family.
Young children and people with allergies and chemical sensitivity especially benefit from organic cotton clothing, as conventional cotton may retain harmful toxic residues. Wearing organic cotton contributes to many health benefits. The material is very soft, extremely durable, breathable, gentle to skin, easy to clean and has minimal shrinkage. The organic cotton clothes my daughter wore as a baby and toddler were the ones I mostly passed on to friends for their kids. They looked nearly brand new and I'd like to imagine they are still being passed on. I was particularly concerned with using organic cotton washcloths, since I used them countless times a day on her delicate skin. I also made concessions to afford organic cotton pajamas and organic cotton onesies. I know everyone suggests that you should have multiples of everything for your baby, but I was committed to having fewer of some things like: organic cotton sheets and an organic cotton sleep sac, so I could afford the quality.
Again, buying organic cotton is a cost difference. But in this case, more money equals higher quality, and less need to buy more.
What organic cotton products do you find to be a neccesity in your home?