Depends. Cotton is a very eco-friendly fabric, since it is natural and biodegradable, but the manufacturing methods used to make clothing may not be. It’s likely that clothes produced in the US are more eco-friendly because of stricter laws. The inks and dyes used in clothing can be harmful to the environment. And, of course, the way the cotton is grown may not be environmentally-friendly or sustainable. If you’re really concerned you should probably try to purchase products specifically marketed as organic or eco-friendly.
No. Cotton actually requires the most pesticides out of any crop, during a harvest cotton is typically spread down 30-40 times with toxic chemicals. In addition, the EPA named 7 out of 15 out of the top 15 chemicals used in these pesticides as possible or likely carcinogens. This inevitably gets in our water and air supply. The following link lists places to find organic cotton, http://www.greenpeople.org/OrganicCotton.html.
To add to wonderflan’s response . . . cotton clothing can often come from sweat shops and other adverse working conditions and while this is not entirely an “eco” issue, humanitarian abuses are closely linked to environmental destruction. Lastly, the most eco-friendly clothing is always clothing that you do not buy. Before you rack your brain over which organic shirt to purchase, remember that buying a vintage or used product (even if it’s leather or polyester), or just rifling through the closet for something you haven’t worn in a while, is a heck of a lot more eco-friendly because it is not putting additional waste and chemicals into the environment.
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