Organic clothing. Is it worth the cost?
As we move to a greater awareness that our decisions as consumers impact not only our health but our planets’ health as well we are beginning to make more informed choices about what we eat, clean our homes with, and what we wear.
Conventionally grown cotton is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops to farm.
Water run off from chemical-intensive farming enters into waterways killing plants and wild life and can end up in our food sources through this contamination.
These pesticides have been shown to be carcinogenic to farmers as well as those who work in the processing stages. Chemical irritants are trapped in the fibres of the finished fabric and can cause skin irritation and headaches to us, the end users.
British designer and environmentalist Katharine Hamnett says, “Conventional cotton (as opposed to organic cotton) has got to be one of the most unsustainable fibres in the world. Conventional cotton uses a huge amount of water and also huge amounts of pesticides which cause 350,000 farmers’ deaths a year and a million hospitalisations.”
Organic cotton products are safer as they are produced from seeds that have not been genetically modified. Not only are there no pesticides used in the process, but the system of production replenishes soil fertility (non organic cotton is grown in the same soil over and over again which degrades the soil quality). Less water and less energy are used in organic farming.
Organic cotton clothing may be somewhat more expensive as organic production uses more land and is more labour intensive than conventional growing but is definitely a worthwhile investment for the health of the farmers and producers, the planet, and for us, the consumers. Lets try to buy less but buy better wherever we can and to make more informed decisions to buy more sustainable products.