Not only does organic cotton feel good on your skin, but it is much better for the environment. Organic cotton has the same fiber strength, length and other properties as conventional cotton, but farming it actually improves the overall quality of the land.
The conventional cotton growing method involves seeds that are usually treated with fungicides and insecticides and soil that is treated with synthetic fertilizers and herbicides, insecticides and pesticides (five are probable carcinogens). The industry frequently uses aerial spraying which can endanger wildlife, communities and farm workers due to potential drift. Chemicals are used in the defoliation process.
On the contrary, the organic cotton farming method uses untreated seeds and never uses GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds which are used for approximately 70% of US-grown cotton. Instead of fertilizers, soil is made strong through crop rotation and weeds are physically removed and controlled through cultivation and hand hoeing. Healthy soil maintains a balance between pests and their predators and the organic method uses the seasonal freeze for defoliation. (Source: www.aboutorganicotton.org)
According to the Sustainable Cotton Project, it takes one-third of a pound of pesticides to produce one t-shirt. Grist.org says, "In 2000, 84 million pounds of pesticides were sprayed on the 14.4 million acres of conventional cotton grown in the U.S. (an average of 5.8 pounds of pesticides per acre), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- and the EPA considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on U.S. cotton crops to be "possible," "likely," "probable," or "known" human carcinogens."
Do you and your event staff want to wear all those pesticides and support and industry that uses all those carcinogens?
It may cost an extra dollar or two per t-shirt, but the ethical choice is organic cotton.
Organic Cotton T-shirts vs. Conventional Cotton
Choose organic cotton over conventional cotton when ordering t-shirts for your event staff (or to sell to attendees!). Organic cotton is free of pesticides, herbicides (and all those other "ides") many of which have been found to cause cancer. Furthermore, the organic cotton farming method is much easier on the Earth. It may cost a teense more (the latest quote I received was $7.08 for a conventional cotton t-shirts vs. $8.97 for an organic cotton t-shirt. I choose my health and the health of the Earth over a few extra pennies spent.