Organic cotton costs more than conventional cotton, but it's better for the environment and farm workers, as it is grown without the use of most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetic engineering.
Cotton fiber can be USDA certified organic, but processing the fiber into a textile is not covered. Select organic cotton products that have been dyed with "low-impact fiber reactive dyes" and finished without formaldehyde. Product labels should mention voluntary third-party standards or certifications such as Eko (certified by Skal), Oeko-Tex, or the Global Organic Textile Standards. These are meant to ensure that production and/or processing is eco-friendly.
Also, find textiles that can be machine washed so you can avoid dry-cleaning chemicals. If an item is a blend, check whether it's blended with another sustainable fiber like hemp or linen, rather than conventional cotton or a synthetic fiber.
Continued on page 2: Bamboo