Cotton is the world's most important non-food agricultural commodity, yet this industry is responsible for the release of US$ 2 billion worth of chemical pesticides each year, of which at least US$ 819 million worth are considered toxic enough to be classifed as hazardous by the WHO.
Cotton accounts for 16% of global insecticide releases: almost 1 kg of pesticide is applied for every hectare under cotton.
Between 1% and 3% of agricultural workers worldwide suffer from actue pesticide poisoning. A single drop of the pesticide aldicarb, absorbed through the skin, can kill an adult. Aldicarb is commonly used in cotton production.
Toxic agrochemicals first applied to cotton 50 years ago now pollute the country's land, air, food and drinking water.
Hazardous cotton pesticides are now known to contaminate rivers.
Organic cotton offers a strong alternative to conventional cotton.