Have you ever taken a look at the label on your bras? If not, it’s probably time that you do. Most bras are made wholly or in part of cotton, otherwise known as the “dirtiest crop in the world”.
Cotton and Pesticides
Not only are cotton crops among the most common GMO’s in the world (1), they account for 11% of the world’s insecticide sales and 24% of the world’s pesticide sales (2). To put that into perspective, cotton is treated with 15 pounds of herbicide per 2 and a half acres(3). These pesticides have already been linked to numerous health issues in those who work directly with the chemicals (4) as well as harmful effects for consumers down the line both known and unknown.
A 2007 study analyzed the soil of cotton crops for residue to find which pesticides were used and how long they took to break down(5). Concerning pesticides used on cotton crops include:
- Dimethoate, a toxin easily absorbed through the skin. Dimethoate has been linked to respiratory issues, birth defects, and a preliminary study suggests it is a possible carcinogen (6).
- Monocrotophos, a highly hazardous toxin that can be absorbed through the skin. Exposure has been linked to neurological problems (7).
- Cypermethrin, which has been classified as a possible carcinogen due to preliminary animal studies (8).
- Endosulphan, which can have adverse effects on thyroid hormones, reproductive hormones, and possibly the immune system (9).
How to Avoid Pesticides In Your Bras
No, this doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing bras altogether (of course, if this is the excuse you’ve been waiting for to go bra-less, you go, girl). There are other ways to get the ‘support’ you want without exposing yourself to toxic substances.
The key here is organic materials. While you can find some suppliers of organically grown cotton, there are also hemp bras and even bamboo bras! Hemp is an option growing in popularity because it’s a durable crop that can thrive without the use of pesticides and as a fabric, is 3.3 times more durable than cotton (10). Lucky for us, that means spending less money on bras on the long run.
Where to Buy Hemp or Organic Bras
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Wearing hemp and organic doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort or style. Check out these two makers of all organic intimates (and more):
Nomads Hemp Wear has a beautiful collection of intimates, and you can find clothes for the whole wardrobe, too!
Rawganique sells sweatshop-free organic intimates (including menstrual pads!), shoes, and clothing.
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