How Pesticides affect the health of farming families
by Jessica Diehl
Cotton farming can be a solid income producing livelihood for farmers, and it is a vital crop for the entire world. As the raw material for the cotton textile industry, there is strong demand for the product. But, cotton farming can also trap farmers in a vicious cycle of pesticide- dependent growing as the crops can sometimes become vulnerable to pests and disease.
Herbicides, insecticides and fungicides can become used in heavy rotation without the understanding of natural and organic methods to sustain the crop. Dangerous insecticides like likemonocrotophos, oxydemetonmethyl, and cypermethrin can be used daily by these farmers without proper masks or protection, allowing dangerous chemicals to reach their skin, lungs and to be used on the raw fibers that will become our clothes, sheets and baby blankets.
By buying and creating a demand for organic cotton, you as a consumer help direct change that improves farmer health and safety. Rather than relying on chemicals, organic farms can find natural ways to keep their crop healthy, including trap crops, crop rotation and natural pesticides like neem extract. The environment is protected, the health of farmers is not undermined by pesticides and farmers get a better price for their crop.