There are so many reasons to buy organic cotton clothing. One is to protect yourself and your family from the dangerous chemicals used on conventional cotton. Another reason is to avoid the human and environmental costs of conventional cotton. A third is for the enjoyment of the clothing itself, as organic cotton clothing is exceptionally soft and comfortable.
“We established Organic Signatures in order to offer consumers an affordable organic cotton shirt made with low impact dyes so that customers aren’t harmed by wearing the residue of pesticides and fertilizers next to their skin. Another motivator is because of the damaging environmental and social justice impacts of conventional cotton,” says Oren Barnoy, Compliance Manager at Organic Signatures. “We envision pushing the fashion industry to a more sustainable, eco-friendly place, a direction that not only values exceptional craft, but the producers, farmers, and the planet just as much as the end consumer.”
The truth is that conventional cotton and the typical “fast fashion” of workers crammed in warehouses does enormous harm to our planet and its people. We at Organic Signatures are leading with a sustainable solution.
The problems with conventional cotton
The conventional cotton industry uses 16 percent of all worldwide insecticides, even though it takes up just 2.5 percent of agricultural land. Nearly 95 percent of that global cotton production is GMO and/or conventionally grown using these dirty chemicals. This includes serious carcinogenic chemicals, reports the Organic Consumers Association, including: Bayer’s aldicarb, which was banned in the U.S. in 2010, but reapproved in 2016. Just one drop can kill an adult. Other chemicals used in cotton include Syngenta’s paraquat, a highly toxic pesticide banned in the European Union but not in the U.S., and Monsanto’s glyphosate, linked to metabolic syndrome, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, cancer and depression.
According to a report by the Environmental Justice Foundation, “These chemicals include some of the most poisonous substances applied to crops anywhere in the world – and they are commonly used in developing countries without any of the safeguards, regulations or protections expected in the West.” As a result, 1-3 percent of worldwide agricultural workers suffer from acute pesticide poisoning with at least 1 million requiring hospitalization each year. These figures equate to between 25 million and 77 million agricultural workers worldwide.
“Globally the number of children poisoned by pesticides is thought to be substantial,” according to the report. Contact may come from children working in the fields, which happens in many rural communities growing cotton. Other scenarios include children playing close to cotton fields following pesticide application, when family members fail to wash their clothes following work in contaminated fields, and when the spraying of pesticides occurs close to living quarters, or drifts into communities — or through the water.
In Uzbekistan, the second largest cotton exporter in the world, the cotton industry has created an environmental catastrophe, draining most of the Aral Sea, leaving behind toxic residues and decimating the local fishing industry. Additionally, the cotton industry is a modern-form of slavery, with one-third of the population, including children as young as 7, laboring for the government-owned industry. Schools close during harvest time, and teachers bring the children to the cotton fields instead, with dire consequences, such as losing schooling privileges if they don’t. Learn more in this EJF video.
In addition to the harm to the planet and ag workers, pesticide residue can be detected in conventional cotton clothing, warns the report. Plus, conventional cotton uses dangerous chemicals, like formaldehyde, in processing.
The damage cited above is just a quick glance of some of the harms of the conventional cotton industry. The good news: You can help fix this problem by buying organic cotton clothing instead of clothing made from conventional cotton.
Be the solution you wish to see
We offer super comfortable organic cotton shirts for men, fashionable enough to wear to work or out on the town — and will soon expand our line to include women’s options.
Additionally, because we care about your health, workers’ health and the planet’s health, we use low-impact dyes, meaning they do not contain toxic chemicals (like other dyes do). Moreover, our low-impact dyes require less rinsing during the production process, saving water. And, every time you make a purchase from Organic Signatures, we donate 10 percent to charity to help disadvantaged youth connect with the environment.
Get involved today to be the change you wish to see in the world. See our full collection on our website or a few of our featured products on Amazon, knowing your helping the planet, other people, and protecting yourself and your family.