Go to fullsize imageIf you are like me, you are trying to be a “greenie” type person.  You do your best to buy mostly organic foods (minus the donut and pastry weakness) and you attempt to buy all natural or organic products whenever you can.  I have been doing pretty well with this overall.  I still have my “issues” and so does everybody else.  I try to think of it as a balancing act.  Such as, “if I put this donut laden with processed sugars into my cart/body, I will balance it by drinking 2 cups of all natural pomegranate juice today AND I will reuse my son’s ziploc snack baggies for tomorrow’s snack”.  Usually that works for me.

One area in my life that I have made virtually no attempt to “greenify” is my wardrobe.  Honestly, have you looked at the prices of organic cotton or ecofriendly clothes?  It’s ridiculous.  Plus, I can never find eco-friendly or clothes made with organic cotton at Goodwill or Salvation Army (which at least I am still regularly shopping at for quality used clothes to put a little dent in my fashion eco-world).  How else am I going to afford clothes made from organically grown cotton?  Heck, the tutoring business is really slow in the fall and the bedrest for the past month has not been helpful to the budget.  (Not that we have trillions to spend normally).

Why buy organic clothing anyway?  I don’t have a skin sensitivities and I am not taking bites out of my shirt when I get hungry.  So, it’s not like this non-organic stuff is getting into my body to damage organs.  Well, in doing a little bit of reading I found that it’s not just about putting something directly into my big mouth.  It’s about affecting the world around me, which in turn affects my health and the health of everything around me, including my kids.

Buying organic cotton makes a big environmental impact.  Less than 3% of the world’s agricultural land is used to grow cotton.  But 25% of the world’s pesticides (many of those are known to cause cancer) are used on that 3% of land.  Not quite balanced is it?  Besides the pesticides that end up on the cotton, think of the pesticides that go into the ground, into the water, on the workers, and into the air to be inhaled.  Oh, and let’s not forget the pesticides that can remain on the cotton fiber and rub on your skin all day.

Just think, if millions of people switched to buying mostly organic cotton items, we could do some great things.  Here’s a short list of 5 great things you would be doing:

1. Protect our fisheries
Runoff containing pesticides from cotton fields killed 240,000 fish in Alabama in 1995.
2. Prevent chronic health problems in Egyptian cotton workers
In the 1990s, fifty percent of Egyptian cotton workers suffered from chronic pesticide poisoning, including neurological and vision disorders.
3. Prevent health disorders in some of the poorest workers in the world
Chances are that famous-label tee shirt you’re wearing was made in Bangladesh where ninety-one percent of Indian men working in cotton eight plus hours/day suffered illnesses related to chromosonal aberrations and cell death.
4. Save American lives
Each year, more than ten thousand Americans die from cancer associated with pesticides.
5. The life you save may be your own
A third of a pound of fertilizers and pesticides are used in the growth and production of every cotton t-shirt you pull over your head.

Hmmm…maybe I should be making more of an effort to buy organic cotton.  I did also find some pretty reasonable sources for organic cotton clothing, once I started to really look.  Walmart is now carrying some organic cotton clothing.  Victoria’s Secret has some lovely organic cotton underthings.  I know that many major clothing brands are trying to incorporate something organic to jump on the green wagon.  Granted, you may not be able to buy an entirely new organically grown cotton wardrobe.  But, you could replace items little by little, and lots of little steps can lead to big change.  If you have any suggestions of where to buy affordable organic cotton clothing, let us know!