Archive for April 2010 | Monthly archive page

Cotton growers typically use many of the most hazardous pesticides on the market including aldicarb, phorate, methamidophos and endosulfan. Cotton pesticides are often broad spectrum organophosphates–pesticides originally developed as toxic nerve agents during World War II–and carbamate pesticides. (from the Pesticide Action Network)

In honor of the 40th annual Earth Day, Bambu Batu is celebrating all month long with our Biggest SALE Ever. If you’ve been holding off in hopes for a massive storewide sale, now is the time.

Soft on the skin, good for the planet and now easy on the wallet, Bambu Batu is proud to offer the largest selection of natural fiber bamboo and organic cotton clothing anywhere, and now at prices you won’t believe. Men’s organic t-shirts now only $10! Oodles of women’s t-shirts, tank tops and halter tops have been reduced to just $10-15. Looking for good deals on organic cotton, bamboo or hemp pants? We’ve got heaps of men’s & women’s jeans and trousers for only $20! (reg. $60-$80)

After 40 years of building environmental consciousness, Earth Day has become something of cliche in certain circles. But here at Bambu Batu, we take these matters seriously, as we have for nearly two decades. Since opening our first natural fiber eco-boutique in 1994, we’ve been committed to sourcing the most environmentally sustainable products, produced through the most socially responsible labor practices, while educating consumers about the detrimental effects of conventional cotton farming. (see: Cotton Statistics)

In addition to our incredible selection of bamboo, consider some of the other ways in which we contribute to a healthier planet and a stronger local economy:

– Several lines of bamboo and organic cotton clothing for men, women and babies, made in the USA.

– Extensive selection of fair trade gifts, jewelry and home decor.

– Fair Trade, Organic chocolate made right here in S.L.O. by Sweet Earth Chocolates.

– Haiti Bars (by Sweet Earth Chocolates) raise money for the Haiti earthquake vicitims. One diollar from each bar goes directly to Partners in Health.

– Fair Trade hand-made wool products by Maule Wear are imported directly from Curanipe, Chile (just 5 miles from the epicenter of the recent earthquake) and bring direct support to their devastated economy.

– Organic, all-natural skin care products by local companies like Elemental Herbs and Ruth’s Herbal Remedies.

– Dozens of other products from local artists, fair trade artisans, family-run businesses and conscious-minded companies.

Remember, every dollar you spend casts a vote for the kind of business practices you support. Shop local, buy organic, live better, and have a righteous Earth Day!

Of all insecticides used globally each year, the estimated amount used on traditional cotton: 25%.

Five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. (cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite, and trifluralin) are KNOWN cancer-causing chemicals. All nine are classified by the U.S. EPA as Category I and II— the most dangerous chemicals.

In the U.S. today, it takes approximately 8-10 years, and $100 million to develop a new pesticide for use on cotton. It takes approximately 5-6 years for weevils and other pests to develop an immunity to a new pesticide.

600,408 tons of herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, fungicides, and other chemicals were used to produce  cotton in 1992 in the 6 largest cotton producing states. (Agricultural Chemical Usage, 1992 Field Crops Summary, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service)

Number of pesticides presently on the market that were registered before being tested to determine if they caused cancer, birth defects or wildlife toxicity: 400.  (US EPA Pesticide Registration Progress Report, 1/93)

Amount of time it takes to ban a pesticide in the U.S. using present procedures: 10 years. (US EPA Pesticide Registration Progress Report, 1/93)

Number of active ingredients in pesticides found to cause cancer in animals or humans: 107.(After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)

Of those active ingredients, the number still in use today: 83.(After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)

Number of pesticides that are reproductive toxins according to the California E.P.A.: 15.  (After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)

Most acutely toxic pesticide registered by the E.P.A.: aldicarb (frequently used on cotton). (After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)

Number of states in which aldicarb has been detected in the groundwater: 16.  (After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93)

Percentage of all U.S. counties containing groundwater susceptible to contamination from agricultural pesticides and fertilizers: 46%. (After Silent Spring, NRDC, 6/93) The Sustainable Cotton Project estimates that the average acre of California cotton grown in 1995 received some 300 pounds of synthetic fertilizers or 1/3 pound of fertilizer to raise every pound of cotton. Synthetic fertilizers have been found to contaminate drinking wells in farm communities and pose other long-term threats to farm land.

One of the commonly used pesticides on cotton throughout the world, endosulfan, leached from cotton fields into a creek in Lawrence County, Alabama during heavy rains in 1995. Within days 245,000 fish were killed over 16 mile stretch. 142,000 pounds of endosulfan were used in California in 1994.

In California’s San Joaquin Valley, estimates are that less than 25% of a pesticide sprayed from a crop duster ever hits the crop. The remainder can drift for several miles, coming to rest on fruit and vegetable crops, and farm- workers. One year more than one hundred workers fell ill after a single incident of such drift onto an adjacent vineyard.

In California, it has become illegal to feed the leaves, stems, and short fibers of cotton known as ‘gin trash’ to livestock, because of the concentrated levels of pesticide residue. Instead, this gin trash is used to make furniture, mattresses, tampons, swabs, and cotton balls. The average American woman will use 11,000 tampons or sanitary pads during her lifetime.

The problems with clothing production don’t stop in the field. During the conversion of conventional cotton into clothing, numerous toxic chemicals are added at each stage— silicone waxes, harsh petroleum scours, softeners, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia, and formaldehyde— to name just a few.

I would have posted this on Thursday, Ms. Maathai’s birthday, but that was April 1st, and I was afraid my readers might have doubted the veracity of the story, and I would have had to come back with some trite cliche like “Kenya believe it?” So I opted for the 2-day cooling off period.

Anyway, the name Wangari Muta Maathai (born in Kenya, April 1, 1940) probably doesn’t mean a lot to most people, but she has been a vanguard of environmental activism since the early 1970s and in 2004 became the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”

Maathia has been on the forefront of numerous environmental, political and feminist movements around the world for several decades now. She’s also the author of many books including “The Challenge for Africa” which came out last year.