Kate Ball-Young, former sourcing manager of Joe Fresh: “Does it bother me that people are working in a factory, making clothes for Americans and Europeans? No. I mean they are doing a job. There is nothing inherently dangerous with sewing clothes. So we are kind of starting out with a relatively safe industry. It’s not like coal or natural gas mining.” – In many ways, her worldview neatly encapsulates the abstracted beliefs about globalization and capitalism held by most Americans today, who aren’t aware of the dangers those factory workers have to face every day. Similarly to coal mining, where’s constant danger of collapse (much like Rana Plaza), people are also dying a slow death caused by the chemicals.
The dangers of conventional cotton
According to Statista, India is the country that produces cotton the most. So let’s talk about it.
Most of India’s cotton is grown in the Punjab region. As a result, it has quickly become the largest user of pesticides in India. Dr. Pritpal Singh has been studying the effects of these chemicals on human health. His reports showed dramatic results in the numbers of birth defects, cancers and mental illness.
Dr. Pritpal Singh: “You can go to every village, you will see that hundreds of patients are suffering from cancers. You will find 70 to 80 kids in every village facing severe mental retardation and physical handicaps. Companies of the fertilizers and pesticides are totally refusing the after-effects of these chemicals. So it is a very dangerous phenomenon in Punjab.”
How conventional cotton affects us
As our skin is the largest organ, these chemicals are passed into the bloodstream of the people sewing and wearing these clothes.
We do have methods that have a lower impact on the environment and our health. It’s called organic cotton. Its production sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people by using natural processes rather than artificial inputs.
What you should know about organic cotton:
Promotes safe work & better livelihoods
Growing organic cotton keeps farmers and their families safe.
They are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply.
It also means farmers grow more than one crop which supplements their food and income.
Brands that use organic cotton: