Agricultural Chemicals in Cotton
Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
The following information is based on a survey of information available in the public domain about conventional cotton growing. Prancing Leopard Organics believes strongly in organic cotton clothing. We believe that organic cotton clothing is highly preferable over man-made fibers or conventional cotton, and that significant environmental and human costs are involved with the growing, manufacture, wearing and disposal of man-made fibers and conventional cotton. However, we are not in the position to scientifically evaluate the veracity or accuracy of the information contained in the summary below, and of course we can not be held responsible.
More agricultural chemicals are used to grow cotton than any other crop.
There are pesticide, defoliant and herbicide residues in conventional cotton. The exact amount of residues and their toxicity is a subject of discussion. How much of these chemical residues are absorbed by the skin is also a subject of dispute, but apparently depends on age, perspiration, etc.. But in any case it is clear that:
At least 70% of all cotton in the US is now genetically engineered, not only for resistance to insects but also for resistance to man-made herbicides like Roundup®! Despite this, around 80 billion pounds of agricultural chemicals are used each year in the US to grow cotton.
Here is a list of common agricultural chemicals in use by cotton growers in the US. In India and other developing countries many farmers are still using older chemicals which have been either outlawed in the US or which require special handling for the safety of the workers, many of which are quite toxic to humans. For more information, see our Videos on Organic Cotton and the information from the Organic Consumers Association.
1. Common cotton crop Insecticides include Temik 15G, acephate, dicrotophos, dimethoate, chloronicotinoids (acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam), methamidophos, bifenthrin, dicofol, fenpropathrin, propargite, methidathion, spiromesifen, acetamiprid, chlorpyrifos, dicrotophos, methomyl, methyl parathion, oxamyl, profenophos, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, esfenvalerate, gamma-cyhalothrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, tralomethrin, zetamethrin, spinosad, indoxacarb, profenophos, indoxacarb, methoxyfenozide and thiodicarb.
2. Common cotton crop Fungicides include azoxystrobin, PCNB, iprodione, etridiazole, mefenoxam, carboxin. Captan and thiram are less common.
3. Common cotton crop Herbiides include pendimethalin, fluometuron, quizalofop-p-ethyl, fluazifop p-butyl, sethoxydim, clethodim, pyrithiobac sodium, S-metolachlor, pyrithiobac, DMSA, MSMS, lactofen, linuron, MSMA, glufosinate-ammonium, carfentrazone, prometryn, diuron, S-metolachlor, trifloxysulfuron, dimethipin, trifloxysulfuron, prometryn, flumioxazin, S-metolachlor, paraquat and last but not least glyphosate.
4. Common cotton crop defoliants include carfentrazone, ethephon, cyclanilide, thidiazuron, diuron, 1-aminoethanide dihydrogen tetraoxosulfate, cacodylic acid, tribufos, and dimethipin.
Roundup® is a trademark of the Scotts Miracle Grow LLC. Roundup Original[TM] is a trademark of Monsanto. Both chemicals are versions of glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the US.