North American Coalition for Maintaining Mother Earth

Posted by Alexa On October - 10 - 2012 1 Comment

We apologize about our weakness for bad puns, but the problem is serious.

The “fabric of our lives” was voted the “the world’s dirtiest crop” by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) because of the obscene amounts of pesticides and insecticides used in its production. According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, cotton production uses 16% of the world’s insecticides but grows on just 2.5% of the worlds cultivated land. A field of cotton uses 3-5 times more insect killer than a comparably sized cornfield.

That’s straight from the experts, but we’ll break it down further. Each time you pull on a conventional t-shirt, 1/3 of a pound of pesticide was used in its production. For a pair of jeans, 2/3 of a pound of pesticide was used.


So why are these pesticides and insecticides so bad for the environment? 5 of the top 10 pesticides used in conventional cotton production are known cancer-causing chemicals (including cyanide, propargite and trifluralin). Another pesticide for conventional cotton is Aldicarb, which can “kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin,” says OTA, “yet is still used in 25 countries and the US, where 16 states have reported in their groundwater.”

And its not just the pesticides. Fertilizers used on conventional cotton have been found to run off into freshwater and groundwater and create “dead zones” without oxygen, which is essential to maintain freshwater ecosystems. Furthermore, fertilizer production process emits nitrogen oxides, which contribute to global warming.


Fortunately, there is a cure! Many natural products offer a great alternative to conventional cotton, and the options just keep growing.
The first alternative is organic cotton, which is grown with methods that are less harmful to the environment than conventional cotton. Organic cotton is grown without toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and must meet strict regulations in the U.S. The best news: pretty much anything made of conventional cotton has an eco-friendly twin. We’re particularly partial to organic cotton linens and bedding!

Another great option is bamboo, which is a favorite of pandas as well as us. Bamboo fabric is sustainable, biodegradable, and oh-so-soft (if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out!) Moreover, “bamboo plants absorb 400 percent more greenhouse gases and produce 35 percent more oxygen than trees” according to We’ve got some great bamboo products worth checking out.

Another great trend in eco fashion is hemp clothing (and its not just for hippies). Hemp farming requires very little water, and does not require any pesticides or fertilizers. According to, “hemp fiber is lightweight, absorbent and, with three times the tensile strength of cotton, strong and long-lasting.” We’re getting more cool hemp items in each week, including some fun hemp bags!


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One Response so far.

  1. Jacob says:

    I like organic cotton and am completely on board with organic products, although admittedly it doesn’t seem to last as long as traditional cotton.