Tuesday 15 April 2014


Health is important to all of us. But sometimes we struggle to make healthy choices. We get into bad habits, then face the consequences: sickness and crippling medical bills for ourselves or our family .

We can choose. But how would it be to have to work day in and day out with chemicals which you know are toxic, which are destroying your health and that of your family...but to have little or no choice about this?

Imagine having to work in an environment which you knew was making you sick. And imagine that you were so poorly paid that when you got sick, you were unable to afford to pay for the medicine and healthcare which you needed.

This is the grim situation faced by cotton farmers across Africa and Asia growing non-organic cotton. As PAN (Pesticide Action Network) show in their video Moral Fibre  of farmers in Benin ....

Drinking canned milk to feel better

'After treatment [of the cotton with pesticide] I feel burning on my arms, I have digestive trouble and dizziness for up to 72 hours. It's so bad that if we weren't dependent on cotton as a cash crop we'd all stop growing cotton,' says one farmer, speaking with his identity concealed. 'After treatment we usually buy concentrated milk and drink that...sometimes three tins to make ourselves feel better.'

The anonymous farmer's observations are confirmed by British toxicologist, Dr V Howard. 'Organo-phosphates were developed from nerve gases. People who are exposed from them can get very ill, or die.'
The label is clear
Another farmer, Ernest Agbolewafi, who stopped growing cotton because of the impacts of pesticides on his and his family's health, comments, 'After treatment [spraying the crop] I used to get itching then a bad rash which spread all over my body and began to ooze liquid. One day I fainted. My neighbours took me to the health centre, but I didn't know where I was until evening. I'm really anti cotton as a result of my experience.
This farmer stopped growing cotton

The health impacts of pesticides are not small. According to PAN, 220,000 people have died from pesticide poisoning, while one million have been made ill.

Dizziness, breathing problems, nausea, headaches, and weakness are the result of pesticide exposure, as well as reproductive health issues and impacts on the foetus. In one cotton growing area of Benin, there were 314 acute poisoning cases and 61 deaths.

Farmers cannot afford to buy protective clothing...and even if they do, it's unsuitable for use in tropical climates with high humidity and temperatures around 40C. So it's common for farmers to spend fifty per cent of their income on health care costs, particularly if family members are affected.
Label indicates protective clothing required

As the anonymous farmer observes, "Pesticide companies should really look at the products they're making and start making them less toxic. If you sit down and do a detailed costing, I lose a lot of money because of the impact on my health. They should be responsible for public health and develop products which don't harm people."

We may have a long wait before the likes of Monsanto come up with a solution. And of course there is still the question of toxic residues left in cotton clothing...so what is the answer?

"We can't allow our clothing to kill the people who grow the fibre that goes into it," says Simon Ferrigno of PAN. While British designer Katherine Hamnett is just one of a growing number of fashion industry leaders who is pushing for change. "By using organic cotton, I can make clothes without having blood on my hands," she says.
At Nukleus we believe that simple changes can make such a huge difference, not just for us at home, but for people far away in other places.

In India, more than 80%of all cotton seeds are now Bt GMOs(genetically modified organisms), largely due to the collaboration between US transnational corporation (TNC) Monsanto and the Indian government. In other countries like Benin and other African nations, Bt seeds are not such a major issue but the farmers are still plagued by the high input costs of pesticides/chemicals.

And the high input costs of growing non-organic or Bt cotton - hugely expensive pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, boosting the profits of TNCs like Monsanto and Bayer - also contribute to farmers’ financial problems and their inability to pay for healthcare.

With organic cotton, using cheaper and natural methods of pest control, and fertilizer, input costs are reduced, so farmers’ profits increase. For the farmers and their families it’s a win won situation, since they are no longer forced to work with the deadly poisons which are the pesticides. Not only are they healthier, but they have more profits to set aside for other family commitments, like healthcare, or education. A simple and easy solution, not just for the farmers, but for consumers.

Organic cotton farmers in India/Nandan Saxena

Organic cotton clothing gives consumers peace of mind. Not only because of the benefits of wearing a non-toxic product close to our skin, but we can also relax in the knowledge that we are helping improve the health of others...and the environment.
We benefit because, particularly with innerwear, which lies close to the skin and we wear all day long, we know that there are no toxic chemical residues leaching their way from the fibres into our bodies. And, in the same way, during the production process, no toxic chemicals are leaching from the organic cotton factories contaminating the natural environment.

The Nukleus organic cotton mission is to turn everyone into a winner, creating more health for people and a less polluted environment. It’s a simple and responsible solution to so many issues. The organic cotton farmers have from a healthier, less risky and more profitable lifestyle.
Nukleus Innerwear for him...

Organic cotton products are a healthy option, for us and the environment, too. So when you buy organic cotton, you can feel healthier and less stressed...and congratulate yourself on taking action that makes a real and positive difference...to everyone....and the planet.

We all face a confusing array of choices every day. And of course worrying about anything is stressful, and we all want to be less stressed. So doesn’t it make sense to make a few easy decisions to improve our health: exercise a bit more, eat more healthy food, cut down on sugar...and buy more organic cotton products?