When people think about cotton, often the TV commercials produced by Cotton Incorporated (America’s Cotton Producers and Importers) come to mind. Their slogan, “Cotton, the fabric of our lives.” is very catchy and the commercials are filled with images of purity and innocence.
Unfortunately, what the Cotton Producers and Importers don’t tell you is that cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the US. The USDA reports that more than 53 million pounds of pesticides and 1.6 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizers are applied to cotton fields annually. Organic cotton is grown without chemical agents and a field must be chemical-free for three years before it can be certified organic.1
Cotton Incorporated goes on to provide confusing messages by putting the word “natural” in their logo and changing the background of the logo to green in their newest ad campaign. But natural does not equal organic. Natural means it’s not a synthetic material, and that’s it. Many of the chemicals used in traditional cotton farming are known carcinogens that may damage the nervous system. This toxic spray gets released into the air, soil, and water. Beyond what the chemical residue is doing to you, it’s poisoning the farm workers as well. There’s nothing natural about that.
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