Hey Mr. Green,
I know organically grown cotton is better for the environment, but is there any difference in the fabric? Do the pesticides wash out in the laundry? --April in Redlands, California
Mr. Green answers:
The clothes shoppers buy don't have pesticides in them, but the clothes farmworkers wear home from the fields might. Conventional cotton growing requires a lot of poison--as much as 25 percent of the insecticides applied to all crops--so organic cotton, which is grown with minimal pesticides and governed under the same standards as organic food, is safer for farmers and the environment. Some organic cotton processors also use natural dyes--another plus. The major minus is a higher price. But if people are willing to shell out for a big name on a little label, they should be able to spend more on fashion that's lighter on the earth. For more information, visit aboutorganiccotton.org.