Organic Cotton is generally understood as cotton, from non genetically modified plants, that is to be grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides. Organic cotton production also promotes and enhances biodiversity and biological cycles include organic farming. In the United States cotton plantations must also meet the requirements enforced by the National Organic Program (NOP), from the USDA, in order to be considered organic. This institution determines the allowed practices for pest control, growing, fertilizing, and handling of organic farming. As of 2007, 265,517 bales of organic cotton were produced in 24 countries and worldwide production was growing at a rate of more than 50% per year.
Organic Cotton Clothing are made without the aggressive chemicals that stiffen and starch conventional cotton products, organic cotton is the way nature intended – smooth, pliant and non-allergenic.
Supporting farms and companies who produce organic cotton clothing or bamboo clothing can help reduce the Health concerns represent a potential source of benefits and demand for organic cotton clothing. Organic cotton clothing is manufactured to last damage on farms and on workers. Enduring the normal life cycle and finally reaching a bio-degradable end naturally without creating any disturbance to the earth
Organic Cotton Clothing contributes to the environment in three ways.
Organic Cotton Clothing is encouraging the growth of organic cotton which helps to keep the land free of harmful chemicals and fertilizers.
Organic Cotton Clothing are indirectly helping the farmers in higher realizations of money and keeping them healthy and debt free.
Purchasing an organic Cotton clothing is more of an emotional or philosophical decision, unlike the purchase of organic food which has obvious health benefits. But the indications are that consumers in the USA, Western Europe and parts of Asia are taking these decisions in larger numbers than ever before.
Organic cotton clothing has been produced without the use of synthetic chemicals and none has been used in the processing of raw fibers to finished product.
Organic cotton Certification | Organic Certification Requirements
It is required by the law that any producer wanting to label and sell a product as organic must meet the standards established by the Organic cotton Production Act of 1990, enforced by The State organic program (SOP) to get organic certification. This act specifies the procedures and regulations for production and handling of organic farming.
Organic cotton System
Producers must elaborate and organic production or handling system plan which must also be approved by the state certifying agency or the USDA. This organic system must include careful explanation of every process held in the plantation, as well as the frequency with which they are performed. A list of substances used on the crops is also necessary, along with a description of their composition, place where they will be used, and if possible documentation of commercial availability. This inventory of substances is important for the regulation of allowed and prohibited material established by the SOP.Organic farming must also provide a description of the control procedures and physical barriers established to prevent contact of organic and non organic crops on split operations and to avoid contact of organic cotton production with prohibited substance during gestation, harvesting, and handling operations .This organic system plan can also be transferred to other states as long as it has already been approved by a certifying agency.
Organic cotton Pesticides
Since organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, it should contain fewer pesticides than conventional cotton. Pesticides used in the production of conventional cotton include orthophosphates such as phorate and methamidophos, endosulfan (highly toxic to farmers, but not very environmentally persistent) and aldicarb. Other pesticides persisting in cotton fields in the United States include Trifluralin, Toxaphene and DDT . Although the last two chemicals are no longer used in the United States their long breakdown period and difficulty in removal ensures their persistence. Thus even organic cotton fields may contain them since conventional cotton fields can be transitioned to organic fields in 2-3 years.
Production of Organic Cotton
Organic cotton is currently being grown successfully in many countries; the largest producers (as of 2007) are Turkey, India and China.
Organic cotton production in Africa takes place in at least 8 countries. The earliest producer (1990) was the SEKEM organization in Egypt; the farmers involved later convinced the Egyptian government to convert 400,000 hectares of conventional cotton production to integrated methods,achieving a 90% reduction in the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in Egypt and a 30% increase in yields.