What will we leave for our children?
On Sunday evening (13/09/2020), we watched in horror as Sir David Attenborough and other eminent scientist on the BBC, in a programme entitled Extinction, explained how we have thoughtlessly destroyed our Earth and its animals. The consequences are far reaching and profound. Of course, there are some (like SkinLikes) who strive to be clean and organic, but the sadness is that far too many companies have materialistic values, live to make profit at all costs, and have no care for what we may leave for our children and grandchildren.
The top 5 beauty and personal care concerns in 2020 are safety, transparency, ethical sourcing, sustainability and personalisation, and we would far rather write an article about something positive in this. However, as we responsibly work and live in the skincare industry, it beholds on us that we should share with you the information that we have discovered about fabrics used in it.
Today, we will write about cotton. Our research is gathered from trusted sites such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and textile industry forums such as https://organiccotton.org/oc/Cotton-general/Impact-of-cotton/Risk-of-cotton-farming.php
So, what’s our reason for writing as we do?
At SkinLikes we are busy formulating and testing a new, clean, organic fascial cleanser and we would like to sell with it a facecloth that is 100% Fairtrade, organic and vegan, but has been difficult to find what we seek. However, we have a result, so let us tell a story:
As children, many of us were fortunate to be able to wear cotton vests manufactured under the St Michael brand and sold by Marks & Spencer. Mums obviously thought that they were doing their best, but the world was a different place then, and much that we have since destroyed had not then been touched. But we were growing cotton.
Most people think of cotton as a “natural” product, but more pesticides are used on cotton crops than any other crop in the world and we have selected some facts that perhaps all of us should consider?
- Cotton is one of the most chemically intensive crops in the world.
- Current production methods are environmentally unsustainable.
- Its most prominent environmental impacts result from the use agrochemicals (especially pesticides), the consumption of water, and the conversion of habitat to agricultural use.
- It takes 20,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of cotton.
- Diversion of water and its pollution by cotton growing has had severe impacts on major ecosystems in Asia, Pakistan, and the Murray Darling river in Australia, where in places it has completely dried up.
- $3.3 billion worth of pesticide in sprayed on conventionally grown cotton in a year.
- Seven of the 15 pesticides commonly used on cotton in the United States are listed as “possible,” “likely,” “probable” or “known” human carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Human Cost
With its roots in slavery, the cotton industry is even today, notorious for the use of sweatshops, child labour and even forced labour. We have made some recent progress with help from the International Labour Organisation, but countries such as West and Central Africa and Brazil fail to cope when competing against the cost of USA subsidised cotton.
Cotton may have done a lot since its colonial days when 1.8 million slaves were launched into the American cotton fields, but today there are still many reasons why it is called the dirtiest crop in the world and the cotton industry one of the dirtiest industries in the world.
Of course, there are amongst all of this, responsible farmers, but the numbers are small and their crops, demanding a higher cost, find difficult placement.
Cotton Ball Toxicity:
Cotton balls aren’t pure cotton. The fibres are often processed with bleach and other chemicals, a process that results in the creation of dioxins. They disrupt hormones, damage immune function, and even cause cancer; and are particularly dangerous because they’re chemically stable and can remain in the body for 7 to 11 years.
Face cleansing:It would seem to us that there are three alternatives when using face cloths – cotton – bamboo – linen.
As a natural product, cotton is completely biodegradable, which means that it breaks down when put into a composting pile or bin, but it’s a killer for the planet and perhaps the reason why you may consider it best to find an alternative.
It is our opinion that cotton is bottom of the list. Wednesday we will write about bamboo.
So for now, it’s best wishes from, Jim and Sheila and the team at SkinLikes.