I have developed a factsheet on environmental cotton which includes listings of some shops and tons of website details of places to buy organic cotton,bamboo and hemp. Let me know if you would like it e-mailed to you....

Organic Cotton, Bamboo and Hemp

Standard Cotton is responsible for an estimated 20,000 reported deaths per annum from accidental pesticide poisoning and one million pa long-term acute pesticide poisonings. (World Health Organisation). Many of the chemicals were developed for use in chemical weapons during WW2. It also has a massive impact on the environment – “whilst land used by cotton farming accounts for only 2.5 per cent of land, it accounts for 8-10% of all pesticides used and a staggering 22-25 per cent of all insecticides.” “Cotton in Turkmenistan and neighbouring Uzbekistan – the worlds second largest exporter of cotton…. is hand harvested by children as young as five, taken out of school in their hundred of thousands to meet the states’ Soviet-style cotton quotas…according to The Environmental Justice Foundation.” (“The true cost of cheap cotton” New Consumer Magazine Sept/Oct 2006).

Aside from the impact it has on the daily lives (and deaths) of cotton farmers and their families one could also be concerned that there may be chemical residues still lurking in non-organic clothes that we wear everyday and bedding that we sleep in. The fashion industry has moved far away from a hippy hemp cloth top image and there are a range of companies that offer stylish and reasonably priced alternatives. Even the high street stores and supermarket are ‘cottoning’ on to the change in consumer demand for organic and fair trade alternatives.

Organic bamboo and hemp are also good alternatives to cotton. Bamboo is a particularly fast growing plant and therefore produces a higher yield for farmers. Bamboo is also incredibly breathable and has anti-bacterial properties. Growing hemp for material also offers an alternative to farmers to producing marijuana for the illegal drug industry.

Liz X