Many poor farmers who grow non-organic cotton are being poisoned when they spray their crops, often using no or insufficient protection. Check out this report showing how up to 50 farmers may have been fatally poisoned between July and October 2017 potentially due to excess use of Syngenta’s Polo insecticide to control white flies in cotton. https://toxicexports.publiceye.ch/
These toxic chemicals not only poison the farmers, but also the waterways into which they get carried, ultimately ending up in rivers and oceans.
There is some concern about the use of cotton to replace plastic at the moment (reusable bags for example). The argument is that cotton uses masses of water in its production. This is true…. but… it’s not true for organic cotton. Check this out:
To produce cotton for 1 t-shirt:
non-organic cotton uses 2168 gallons of water
organic cotton uses 186 gallons of water
Figures from https://sourcingjournal.com/topics/raw-materials/report-truth-organic-cotton-impacts-68512/
Cotton is a cash crop – farmers can’t eat it; they have to sell it for money. Buying pesticides and fungicides is expensive, and the price at market is often very low. Organic cotton eliminates the need for expensive chemicals, which immediately cuts costs, and organic cotton gets a higher market price. Double win!