Organic Cotton

What Does It Mean???

Is it Better?

 Aside from organic cotton feeling awesome against you skin, it is also great for the environment and the farmers producing it!  It takes 1/3 pound of synthetic fertilizer to grow 1 pound of raw cotton in the U.S., and it takes approximately 1 pound of raw cotton to make 1 shirt.  Regular cotton crops cover 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land, yet it uses 16% of the world’s insecticides.  This is more than any other single major crop…..definitely not good for “Mother Earth”.

         Organic cotton is grown in subtropical climates around the world.  For any cotton to be labeled “organic” in the USA, it must meet the standards established by the Organic Food Production Act of 1990.  Organic cotton growers are required to use farming techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control.  Synthetic petrochemical fertilizers, pesticides, human sewage sludge, and plant growth hormones are prohibited.

           Since 1990 the yearly production of organic cotton has continued to increase rapidly, going from 3.2 million pounds in 2004 to over 9 trillion pounds in 2014. The six largest organic retailers in North America in 2011 were: Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Super Target, Subway, and Whole Foods Markets.  Walmart is the largest grower of organic cotton in the world, which surprised me.

 Although the production of organic cotton has increased, it is unlikely that you’ll find organic fabric at your local fabric store.  I have searched many avenue and back streets to find organic cotton - to no avail. Finally, on the internet I found the organic interlocking knit that I use for My-S-Cap’s 3-Seam turban caps.  It complies with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification guidelines, and only uses low impact dyes. It has a 40% stretch across grain which means it will move when you move, making it ultra-comfortable against any scalp.  For many chemo patients, this is extremely important.

  Lastly, not all “organic cotton” is the same.  The OTA (Organic Trade Association) standards have four levels of organic labeling ranging from 100% organic, with all components including sewing thread be organically certified, to less than 70%.  Whenever possible, look for terms such as: “low impact dyes”, no chemical finishes or fiber-reactive dye, & GOTS. Finding organic cotton items is a challenge, but well worth the effort!