How is cotton made 1

Cultivation of cotton

The massive use of plant toxins in the cotton fields not only destroys pests, but also numerous beneficial insects and soil organisms that are important for soil fertility. In addition, the toxins contaminate rivers, lakes and groundwater in many places. In cotton-growing areas, plant toxins can be detected in drinking water as well as in food and feed.

99 percent of cotton farmers live in developing countries, most of them in very poor, insecure conditions. They produce around 75 percent of the world's cotton harvest. Often these people lack the necessary knowledge and equipment to protect themselves and their families from harmful pesticides. The instructions and warnings on the packaging are often in English, so that the rural population does not understand them at all. In addition, many farmers can neither read nor write. The dangerous chemicals are used without gloves or breathing masks and the empty bottles and barrels are used as drinking vessels and storage for water and food.

Symptoms of acute pesticide poisoning include dizziness, headache, nausea, unconsciousness, shortness of breath, insomnia, skin irritation, diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmias and convulsions up to and including death. Long-term effects of pesticides are damage to the nervous system, the hormonal balance, and the reproductive and immune systems. The WHO estimates that 20,000 people die of pesticide poisoning in agriculture worldwide every year.