To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Yoga Keeps Massage Therapists Flexible,” by Leslie Kaminoff, the July 2011 issue. Article summary: To the author, yoga is all about finding the spaces: in between the muscles, within the joints and especially in the breath.

by Sevda Holland

To the uninitiated, conventional and organic cotton farming do not seem to be that different, but the environmental and health damages created by conventional cotton farming are alarming.

Did you know that conventional cotton uses more chemicals—pesticides, fungicides, defoliants, fertilizers and herbicides—than any other crop? Each year billions of pounds of herbicides alone are spread on cotton fields around the world.

Synthetic and synthetic-blend garments have longer-lasting effects, in terms of their environmental impact. The fibers are treated with elastomers and plastifiers to make them more supple and to engineer their performance. These are often volatile chemicals that are potentially harmful and, some claim, even carcinogenic. Where garbage is incinerated, synthetic fibers give off large amounts of dioxin.

Man-made fibers are frequently nonrecyclable and nearly indestructible, polluting landfills for hundreds of years after they are worn. This is an unpleasant legacy for our children’s children.

Chemical treatments are used for both synthetic and conventional cotton fabrics, leaving residues right next to our skins. Pthalates, nano particles and formaldehyde are also used in clothes. These are added to provide antibacterial, moisture-wicking, wrinkle-resistant, antistatic, antiflammable, anticurl or stain-resistant properties to clothes.

Even the slight possibility of your skin absorbing any of these chemicals should make you feel uneasy. Studies have shown elevated levels of pthalates, BPA and other potentially harmful substances in very young children, raising the concern about these chemicals in clothing.

By wearing organic cotton, you show you care about our environment, the health of every one of us and our oneness with nature. Organic cotton is not manmade in chemical laboratories by large corporations, nor artificially grown using chemicals. Certified organic cotton fabrics do not utilize persistent or harmful chemicals, and are the best choice for you and the environment.

Sevda Holland is the creative director and co-founder of Prancing Leopard Organics. Her experience spans the fashion industry, advertising and graphic design. Born in Turkey, she acquired her first diploma in English at the University of Anadolu in 1988, and a diploma in fashion graphics at the Master School of Fashion Design, in Munich, Germany.