each year cotton producers around the world use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides
Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) February 19, 2008
Online retailer Linenplace.com has added to their eco-friendly bedding assortment with the addition of chemical free organic cotton bedding. As consumers have become more aware of how chemicals in our everyday environments can be harmful and concern over the health of our planet has grown, the organic or "green" movement has gained popularity over the last several years. In the past organic bedding was a fairly obscure segment of the bedding market with limited availability and high prices.
Traditional cotton production is very dependent on the use of insecticides, pesticides and other chemical inputs. In 2003, 55 million pounds of pesticides were sprayed on conventionally grown cotton in the US, making it the third most pesticide dependent crop behind corn and soybeans. According to the Pesticide Action Network, "each year cotton producers around the world use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides". Certain pesticides used on cotton are known or probable human carcinogens. Pesticides can end up in the ground, air, water and food supply. Some immediate effects of this have been poisoned farm workers, contaminated wildlife and even killed fish and birds.
Organic bedding is made with cotton grown under very specific guidelines as defined by government regulations like the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) Crop Standards or the European Union's Regulation 2092/91 on Organic Production of Agricultural Products. These regulations curtail the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and genetically engineered cotton seeds. To be called "organic" in the US, an agricultural crop must be based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.
One problem unique to organic cotton vs. an edible organic vegetable for example, is that cotton must go through several production phases before it can reach a consumer in a way that they can use it. The existing NOP organic crop standards cover cotton production but not processing. A cotton sheet set can be labeled "organic cotton" but in fact may have many chemicals in it from the finishing process.
Meanwhile, customers looking for organic bedding that is truly chemical free should look for certified organic products that are also made with no chemical bleaches, dyes, or finishes. Heather Young, Vice President of online retailer Linenplace.com says, "treatments like wrinkle resistance (also known as permanent press), water repellency, flame resistance and shrinkage control should all be considered red flags to customers looking for natural organic bedding, because they require treatment with chemicals." If the sheets are dyed different colors, it's a good idea to look for "natural" or "low impact" dyes because colored sheets often are achieved with chemical dyes. The best bet is to look for undyed, naturally colored cotton that is also certified organic for cotton content.
Linenplace.com's new organic bedding line includes three styles: a sateen, a jacquard weave and a woven stripe. All are made with certified organic cotton and chemical free finishing. A queen sheet set retails for $99.