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“Nice Shirt—Is that GM Cotton?” – How Genetically Modified Cotton is Taking Over

Elizabeth Renter
November 1st, 2012
Updated 11/01/2012 at 7:03 am
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cottonnatural 245x153 “Nice Shirt—Is that GM Cotton? How Genetically Modified Cotton is Taking OverThere is a very good chance that if you’ve bought anything made of cotton within the last several years, you have indirectly, and most likely unknowingly, supported the GMO industry. That’s because it is estimated that 90 percent of cotton produced worldwide is now genetically modified. While GM cotton likely won’t hurt you, the concern is that we, as consumers, haven’t been kept informed of the presence of these crops and their byproducts in our lives.

GM Cotton is Taking Over

According to The Telegraph, British author Simon Ferringo says that only 12 countries in the world actually grow genetically modified cotton, but that their crops account for the majority produced in the world.

In the United States and elsewhere, the cotton is genetically modified to resist pests. The large prevalence of GM cotton means finding organic cotton is getting more and more difficult and is coming at a heftier price.

Some retailers have formed a “sustainable cotton consortium”. The companies, known as The Better Cotton Initiative, include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, H&M, Adidas, M&S, and Nike. While they currently have little control over whether or not they are using GM cotton, the companies are working towards more sustainable options.

“Larger brands tend to do a lot of ‘blending’ – using organic alongside non-organic. The issue is partly about shortage of supply of organic cotton, due to the dominance of the GM corporations. That is why the campaign is pressing big brands to sign up and drive the demand for organic, non-GM cotton,” said a spokesman for the group.

Cotton farming, in particular, is said to be a “toxic business” according to Amy leech of the Soil Association. “It uses a lot of pesticides—putting in peril the lives of women, men and children in cotton farming communities. 77 million cotton workers suffer poisonings from pesticides each year.”

By making the cotton crops resistant to pesticides, farmers are encouraged to use even more pesticides with little adverse effects to the crop. This makes an already “toxic business” potentially even more toxic.

As we reported earlier this year, GM cotton is having tragic effects in India. The suicide rate among Indian cotton farmers has skyrocketed since the introduction of Monsanto’s Bt cotton in 2002. Why? Because the price of seeds has skyrocketed, and with little alternate options, farmers are being stretched thin. About one Indian farmer killed himself every 30 minutes in 2009, for a grand total of 17,638 in that year alone. Their harvests are low and prices are high. The suicide phenomena has become known as “The GM Genocide.”

Farmers are killing themselves so that we can have our GM cotton t-shirts and socks. It’s difficult to truly grasp the gravity of this matter, but the fact is—it’s happening now and it’s happening, in a large part, due to the GMO industry.

From around the web:

  • Patti Jo Edwards

    Check out Mortgellons also known as Bt cotton disease. "Cotton-like fibers of blue, red, white and black grown under and through the skin causing severe itching and sores. When analyzed

    by an FBI forensics lab, the investigator found nothing like the fibers in the entire FBI database. Agrabacterium was present in all of the victims." Agrabacterium is used in genetic modification. One researcher found this to be a fungus which explains how it can live well in and under our skin. (Think athlete's foot) You can catch this through exposure to your skin, breathing it or if you are bitten by a tick, flea or mosquito that has feasted on an infected host. Humans, dogs and horses have been coming down with this horrific disease. It is in the soil of Bt cotton farms. I now purchase only organic compost and potting soils.

  • david jockusch

    check out he pioneered organic cotton in the US and I buy my fabric from him to make North American Djellebas.

  • Patricia Williams

    Patagonia clothing line uses organic cotton….just saying…