My Cart


Cotton and Pesticides

Posted on

Clothing, Cotton and Pesticides


Cotton  is considered the world's 'dirtiest' crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. Cotton covers 2.5% of the world's cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world's insecticides, more than any other single major crop (1).

Bringing a new pesticide to market requires a major investment of nine years of development and $180 million plus the cost of manufacturing. The effectiveness of these agrochemicals is only temporary as pests develop immunities (2).

Insecticides are designed to effect nervous and reproductive systems of insects, which are similar in both animals and people. This makes insecticides the most hazardous pesticide to human health, causing a wide range of acute and chronic conditions, behavioral changes, increased risk of cancer, and death (1).

Aldicarb, parathion, and methamidopho, three of the most acutely hazardous insecticides to human health as determined by the World Health Organization, rank in the top ten most commonly used in cotton production. All but one of the remaining seven most commonly used are classified as moderately to highly hazardous (1).

Aldicarb, cotton's second best selling insecticide and most acutely poisonous to humans, can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin, yet it is still used in 25 countries and the US, where 16 states have reported it in their groundwater (1).

Insecticide use has decreased in the last 10 years with the introduction of Biotechnology (BT), the fastest adapted yet most controversial new technology in the history of agriculture. As of 2007, Bt cotton already commands 34% of total cotton cropland and 45% of world cotton production. In Bt cotton, the insecticide is always present in the plant rather than applied in periodic spraying sessions which will lead to rapid rates of pest immunities and possibly produce superpests (3).

 Organic cotton, hemp and bamboo are great alternatives!


Leave a comment

Hello You!

Join our mailing list