- Of all
insecticides used globally each year, the estimated amount used
16-25%, more than any other single crop.
(2007). The deadly chemicals in cotton. Environmental Justice
Foundation in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network UK:
London, UK. ISBN No. 1-904523-10-2.)
- Five of the
top nine pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. (cyanide,
dicofol, naled, propargite, and trifluralin) are KNOWN
cancer-causing chemicals. All nine are classified by the U.S.
EPA as Category I and II— the most dangerous chemicals.
- In the U.S.
today, it takes approximately 8-10 years, and $100 million to
develop a new pesticide for use on cotton. It takes
approximately 5-6 years for weevils and other pests to develop
an immunity to a new pesticide.
- 600,408 tons
of herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, fungicides, and other
chemicals were used to produce cotton in 1992 in the 6 largest
cotton producing states. (Agricultural Chemical Usage, 1992
Field Crops Summary, USDA National Agricultural Statistics
- Number of
pesticides presently on the market that were registered before
being tested to determine if they caused cancer, birth defects
or wildlife toxicity: 400. (US EPA Pesticide Registration
Progress Report, 1/93)
- Amount of time
it takes to ban a pesticide in the U.S. using present
procedures: 10 years. (US EPA Pesticide
Registration Progress Report, 1/93)
- Number of
active ingredients in pesticides found to cause cancer in
animals or humans: 107.(After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)
- Of those
active ingredients, the number still in use today: 83.(After
Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)
- Number of
pesticides that are reproductive toxins according to the
California E.P.A.: 15. (After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)
- Most acutely
toxic pesticide registered by the E.P.A.: aldicarb (frequently
used on cotton). (After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)
- Number of
states in which aldicarb has been detected in the groundwater:
16. (After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)
- Percentage of
all U.S. counties containing groundwater susceptible to
contamination from agricultural pesticides and fertilizers: 46%.
(After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)
Sustainable Cotton Project estimates that the average acre of
cotton grown in 1995 received some 300 pounds of synthetic
fertilizers or 1/3 pound of fertilizer to raise every pound of
cotton. Synthetic fertilizers have been found to contaminate
drinking wells in farm communities and pose other long-term
threats to farm land.
- One of the
commonly used pesticides on cotton throughout the world,
endosulfan, leached from cotton fields into a creek in Lawrence
County, Alabama during heavy rains in 1995. Within days 245,000
fish were killed over 16 mile stretch. 142,000 pounds of
endosulfan were used in California in 1994.
California’s San Joaquin Valley, estimates are that less than
25% of a pesticide sprayed from a crop duster ever hits the
crop. The remainder can drift for several miles, coming to rest
on fruit and vegetable crops, and farm- workers. One year more
than one hundred workers fell ill after a single incident of
such drift onto an adjacent vineyard.
- In California,
it has become illegal to feed the leaves, stems, and short
fibers of cotton known as ‘gin trash’ to livestock, because of
the concentrated levels of pesticide residue. Instead, this gin
trash is used to make furniture, mattresses, tampons, swabs, and
cotton balls. The average American woman will use 11,000 tampons
or sanitary pads during her lifetime.
- The problems
with clothing production don’t stop in the field. During the
conversion of conventional cotton into clothing, numerous toxic
chemicals are added at each stage— silicone waxes, harsh
petroleum scours, softeners, heavy metals, flame and soil
retardants, ammonia, and formaldehyde— to name just a few.