Looking for cheap fabric to cover our sofa or bargain hunting for a shirt we know we can get cheaper over at LMOP seems to be a favorite pastime for many. We are so proud when we come home and show and tell how cheap we got this fabric.
While saving on the cost, we often get more than what we bargained for. As you will see, that’s not always a good thing.
The demand for cotton falls into one of the biggest demand and supply categories. It’s easy to see why. Cotton has many desirable characteristics. It’s versatile, stable, naturally comfortable and cheap. There’s just one little catch.
Boll weevils devour cotton crops just like we devour bargains and that translates to lots of pesticides to out maneuver the little buggers. Pesticides are only one among, would believe, up to 150 chemicals that cotton is treated with before you either put on that shirt or sit on that sofa.
Cotton is treated with chemicals which pose a serious health hazard to workers and people who wear the garments. Serious nerve damage, damage to the brain and to the peripheral nerves can result from being exposed to these toxic substances.
Lack of directions of use, lack of information, high demand and the need to get rid of pests, equal unwise use of pesticides. People are more scared of losing crop than their lives although lives are often lost.
Boll weevils will eat an entire harvest even with current use of pesticides, so more pesticides are applied often using power sprayers which get even more onto the crops more quickly than before. Sprayers literally bathe in pesticides and with water shortages, often these pesticides don’t get washed off properly.
Farmers in India don’t know that some of these toxins are neuro toxins once used in chemical weapons, and they often wind up in hospitals after being overwhelmed by the chemicals. The saturation of chemicals on cotton also make the factory workers sick, too.
Most textile producers are in stiff competition and have to produce textiles as cheaply as possible to remain in business. Buyers can’t identify the mixture of chemicals that have been used.
The chemical bath doesn’t stop there. Bleaching agents are used to whiten the cotton. Nasty chemicals are added to dye the fabric. Fabric is with optical brighteners, formaldehyde and fabric softeners to get that soft comfortable hand we all look for.
When the fabric or clothing is ready to ship, even more pesticides are added to keep out the moths and any other insects that could damage the product while in transit.
India is a big source for textiles shipped to big department stores in the United States and Europe. Many clothing firms ask mfgers to sign safety statements, but only a few samples are taken for testing.
India’s textiles production uses 150 chemicals but the textile industry uses thousands of compounds. Textile and clothing firms simply cannot keep up, and to test everything would cost them billions of dollars.
Many clothing firms ask manufacturers to sign safety statements, but only a few samples are taken for testing. When tests are done, chemicals are found that have been banned decades ago because they made people sick.