SFSFWI Educational Partner

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Conventional Cotton & Your Health
Pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals are used during crop growth and to dye and bleach fabric – and then to soften it and create finishing effects. These chemicals affect the environment where they are used, seeping into water and land, as well as posing serious threats to the health and safety of the people working with them.

22.5% of the world’s insecticides are used during cotton production.
Following a report in 2004 scientists discovered that the pesticides that are applied to cotton during the production phase can be detected in cotton clothing in chemical residues that affect the wearer. (

Some dyes, from a group called azo-dyes, have been proven to release cancer-causing substances, and have recently been banned by a European Union law. Until very recently, these chemicals were widely used.

Finally, some chemicals such as formaldehyde, which is a skin irritant and has been linked to cancer, are restricted, but still allowed.

Global Organic Textile Standard – GOTS –

Pesticide Action Network-PAN UK- works to eliminate the dangers of toxic pesticides, our exposure to them, and their presence in the environment where we live and work.

Environmental Justice Foundations cotton campaign.


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