There's a lot of intentional confusion
created in the
marketplace by companies that don't want to go to the effort or expense
of making their products truly environmentally friendly for people and
the planet by getting organic certification.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of greenwashing going on, where a company uses the word "natural" to make a product seem eco-friendly
However, while consumers perceive the word to be synonymous with
"goodness," it actually has no official definition or government
standards associated with it.
It attracts attention. Natural is good, unnatural is bad. These are the
reasons it's used. There is really nothing "natural" about non-organic
food or clothing. The word "natural" does not mean that a product lacks
On the other hand, "Certified Organic" according to the USDA NOP (U.S. Department of
Agriculture National Organic Program) is a true, specifically defined
standard for what constitutes an organically grown crop whether for food
or textiles (fabrics, clothing, bedding, towels, etc).
GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a true, specifically defined
standard for textiles to define an organically grown crop and an organic
and non-toxic manufacturing process including social responsibility
(fair labor) standards.
Let's Be Accurate, Call It "Non-organic" Instead of "Natural"
I prefer the word "non-organic" instead of "natural"
to be very clear that there is no certification applied to food and
textiles unless they are "certified organic." In the U.S., the word
"organic" by itself cannot legally be applied to food or textiles unless
they are "certified organic" according to the USDA NOP.
Let's see what "natural", that is "non-organic", cotton may look like.
Non-organic cotton is one of the top crops for its use of insecticides.
The typical spraying application results in volatile organic compounds
released into the air, contributing to green house gases. Additionally,
such spraying harms the health of the soil and pollutes ground water,
lakes, and streams.
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
IIâ€” the most dangerous chemicals. Depending on the practices involved,
it can take up to a pound of such chemicals to grow the cotton for one
pair of pants and a shirt.
Not only do these chemicals pollute the air, water, and soil but they're
also retained in the crops as they're grown. In addition, other
chemicals are added to the mix during the manufacturing processes. Most
people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) can't wear non-organic
clothing. It literally affects their health.
Organic crops are grown without the use of toxic and persistent
pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Organic matter and crop rotation
are used to build stronger, more nutrient rich soil which retains water
more efficiently than non-organic farming. In addition, federal
regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic
Non-organic wool also uses substantial chemicals which may be unhealthy.
In organic sheep production, sheep must be fed 100% organically-grown
feed and forage (pastures). The use of synthetic hormones, vaccinations,
and genetic engineering is prohibited, as is the use of synthetic
pesticides (internal, external, and on pastures).
There are two key distinctions in organic livestock management. First is
the elimination of "dipping," a method of controlling external
parasites in which sheep are submerged in pools containing
organophosphate-based parasiticides. Studies have indicated that
prolonged exposure to sheep dip pesticides cause changes in the nervous
system of humans. (Imagine how the sheep feel about this process!)
Moreover, disposal and "runoff" of dips can contaminate ground water
Secondly, in order to maintain their certification, organic livestock
producers cannot exceed the natural carrying capacity of the land, thus
preventing the devastating effects of overgrazing.
I think this provides a pretty good idea of the distinctions between
"natural" and "organic." Some entities have tried to discredit organic
certification but that's only done because they don't want to spend the
effort and cost involved in cleaning up their act.
Your source for: Organic, Fair Labor, Eco Friendly Goods.