The concern for environment can be seen in every walk of life. Textile Industry is no exception in that matter. The natural fibres are preferred for their healthier aspect. Of late, more concern is seen among the consumers as well as textile manufacturers regarding the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals in the production of cotton. As a result, now emphasis is placed on growing organic cotton.
What is Organic Cotton?
Organic cotton is grown without pesticides or genetically- altered seeds and with the help of sustainable methods of crop rotation. In place of chemical dependent techniques, more biological sound methods such as composted manures and cover crops, innovative weeding strategies in place of herbicides, useful insects and trap crops for controlling insects and pests and alternatives for toxic defoliants are used.
The major portion of the annual harvest of organic cotton is grown primarily in India and Turkey. The amount of organically grown cotton when compared to conventionally grown cotton is exceptionally less but its booming demand is already putting pressure on the market. This is despite the fact that organic cotton is almost twice as expensive as conventionally grown fibres. Although its production is not expected to rise to a comparable level to that of conventional cotton in near future yet the positive sign is that certain traders have committed themselves to use organic cotton for manufacturing specially labelled apparels. This will keep farmers grow organic cotton continually.
Testing for Harmful Substances
Organic cotton does not differ chemically from the conventionally grown cotton. As such, the proof that cotton has been organically grown, processed and produced into a final product in a sustainable way can only be concluded by certificates issued by independent agencies. The tests by these agencies are being conducted for finding pesticides and other harmful substances such as heavy metals, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol etc. During such tests, not only the chemicals used while growing cotton but also those used in further refinement of the fibres are detected.