- Of all insecticides used globally each year, the estimated amount used on traditional cotton: 25%.
- 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
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.
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,
Number of pesticides that are reproductive toxins according to the California
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.
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)
- The Sustainable Cotton Project estimates that the average acre of California 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.
- In Californias 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
- 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 dont 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.
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