Organic Cotton

Organic cotton bedding is becoming increasingly popular because it is more environmentally safe and healthier than non-organic or synthetic bedding. Organic cotton is pesticide free, pigment free, and hypoallergenic. Organic cotton is extremely comfortable and soothing because it absorbs moisture and wicks it away from the body, keeping the sleeper dry during the night. Organic cotton is not only sustainable and biodegradable, but it is also extremely durable and convenient!

What is Organic Cotton?

Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic cotton does not contain any synthetic chemicals, metals or genetically engineered substances. Organic cotton has been grown without pesticides. For more information on organic cotton production see the Organic Cotton Production? on the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website found here:

History of Organic Cotton

According to the Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia cotton was grown for the first time in Mexico about 8000 years ago. The species (Gossypium Hirsutum) grown at that time is the species that is most planted in the world today and is known as American Upland Cotton; it contributes about 89.9 % of worldwide cotton production.

Sleeping Organic and Organic Cotton

Sleeping Organic encases all of our organic latex mattresses in organic cotton covers with organic wool batting quilted inside.

Benefits of Organic Cotton Hazards of Synthetic Cotton
Pesticide-Free Chemical Pesticides
Hypo-Allergenic Devastating Environmental Impact
Temperature Control Hazardous Production Process
Infant Approved

Benefits for Organic Cotton

Pesticide Free Organic cotton is safer than conventional cotton because it is grown without the use of pesticides. See What is a Pesticide for a better understanding of why pesticides are dangerous and how going organic can be beneficial for you and your family.


Organic cotton is pesticide free, pigment free, bleach free, and hypoallergenic. Organic cotton does not use chemicals in the manufacturing process and is therefore less likely to cause a reaction in people with chemical sensitivities. Organic cotton contains no metals (which tend to cause allergic reactions) that are typically included in the dyes used to put color and patterns into organic bedding. As compared to conventional cotton, organic cotton has been shown to be beneficial for asthmatics.

Temperature Control

Unlike man-made, synthetic materials, organic cotton fibers provide ventilation that allows the cotton to breath. This inherent air circulation system helps remove body moisture by absorption. Cotton fibers can absorb up to 1/5 of its weight before the cotton feels damp. Thus, organic cotton absorbs body moisture and evaporates it to the surrounding air, allowing your body to stay cool and dry throughout the night.
According to the Organic Trade Association organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, use natural fertilizers instead of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Therefore, organic growing methods not only maintain soil health but also use fewer natural resources and less land. More information on organic cotton and sustainability can be found on the OTA website:


Organic cotton is biodegradable.


Organic cotton is a prevalent natural textile that is extremely durable.

Infant Approved

Organic bedding is highly recommended for infants because it is free of harmful pesticides, chemicals, flame retardants and metals that absorb into the body. These hazardous chemicals are also correlated with childhood asthma. See Chemical Flame Retardants for more information!


Organic bedding is completely safe to wash and dry in a regular washing machine and dryer, and it’s comfortable!

Hazards of Conventional Cotton Production

Chemical Pesticides

The cotton industry heavily sprays cotton plants with pesticides and herbicides to repel bugs. About 35% of the world?s pesticides are used to grow cotton. These pesticides create a residue that leaches and integrates into the fiber of the cotton. Because the pesticides become a part of the cotton, they can never wash out. These pesticides can then be absorbed by the human body through contact. See Pesticides Used on Conventional Cotton for a better understanding of how specific chemicals can affect you.

Devastating Environmental Impact

Conventional cotton production has devastating environmental consequences. Runoff from nitrogen loaded synthetic fertilizers kills? aquatic life and severely pollutes water. Pesticides used in conventional cotton production cause soil contamination and destroy animal habitats.

Hazardous Production Process

Cotton fiber in conventional mattresses is processed with large amounts of boric acid (see Boric Acid under Pesticides Used on Cotton). Furthermore, conventional cotton production has a chlorine bleaching component that release carcinogenic dioxins. Most permanent press and stain and water repellant finishes can off gas formaldehyde. The manufacturing process releases perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA, a probable carcinogen, according to an EPA advisory panel.
The advantages of organic cotton in comparison to the conventional cotton are summarized here:

Conventional Cotton Organic Cotton
Environment -Water pollution -Loss of biodiversity -Adverse changes in water balance -Pollution of soil and air -Pesticides killing beneficial insects -Improved water utilization -Increased biodiversity -Soil and air are hygienic -Eco-balance between pests and insects
Social Economy -Health problems in regions where regulatory systems are weak -Poisoning and causalities due to extensive use of pesticides -Resource consuming -High production costs -No alternative crops -Use of local varieties and resources -Helpful for low income families due to more premium -Less resource consumption -Lower production costs -Niche product -More revenue for farmers
Food -Pesticides entering human food through cottonseed oil -Contamination of meat and milk from animals fed on cotton products -No danger of contamination of edible items originated from cotton source
Agricultural -Reduced soil fertility -Poor irrigation, contamination field becoming barren -Increased soil fertility -Crop rotation maintains soil structure
Health -Chemicals remaining in final problems cause health problems -Chronic disease (cancer, infertility, weakness, illness) -No use of pesticides or chemicals that cause chronic diseases


What Is A Pesticide?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a pesticide is any substance or mixture of substance intended for: preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pests. The term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests. Pesticides can cause harm to humans, animals and the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms. There are more than 1,055 active ingredients registered as pesticides, which are put together to produce over 16,000 pesticide products that are being marketed in the United States.

Health Consequences of Pesticides

The health effects of pesticides depend on the type of pesticide. Some can affect the nervous system. Others may irritate the skin or eyes. Some pesticides may be carcinogens, or cancer causing agents. Others may affect the hormone or endocrine systems of the human body. See Pesticides Used on Cotton for a more in depth explanation of how specific pesticides affect human health.

Pesticides and the Environment

Pesticides have a distressing ecological impact. Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, including non-target species, air, water and soil. Pesticides are one of the causes of water pollution, and some pesticides are persistent pollutants and contribute to soil contamination. Pesticide use reduces biodiversity, reduces nitrogen fixation, contributes to pollinator decline, destroys habitats, and threatens endangered species. See Pesticides Used on Cotton to find out how specific pesticides affect the environment.

Pesticides Used on Conventional Cotton

More pesticides are used to cure cotton than any other textile. Different pesticides have different consequences. Glyphosate, aldicarb, and boric acid are three different pesticides that are commonly used on cotton. A brief description of these prevalent pesticides is provided below. However, for more information on the prevalence of pesticide use on cotton, see
?Statistic on Fertilizers and Pesticides? by the National Agricultural Statistics Service found here:, and for a list of more pesticides that are used on cotton and for what purpose, see Pesticides Commonly Used On Cotton? found here:


Glyphosate is a broad spectrum herbicide that kills most types of plants. But it also has a definitive effect on human health, and the health of the ecosystem. The information below was derived from the Journal of Pesticide Reform. For more information on Glyphosate see:
Prevalence of Glyphosate:
?Glyphosate herbicides are among the world?s most widely used herbicides and is the world?s leading agrochemical. Although glyphosate herbicides have been popular since they were first marketed in 1974, their use in agriculture has expanded recently with the increased use of crops that have been genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate treatment. Roundup is a popular brand name for glyphosate herbicides, although many other brand names are used.

Human Exposure to Glyphosate:

?Symptoms of exposure to glyphosate include eye irritation, burning eyes, blurred vision, skin rashes, burning or itchy skin, nausea, sore throat, asthma and difficulty breathing, headache, lethargy, nose bleeds, and dizziness. Glyphosate and glyphosate-containing herbicides caused genetic damage in laboratory tests with human cells, as well as in tests with laboratory animals. Studies of farmers and other people exposed to glyphosate herbicides have shown that this exposure is linked with increased risks of the cancer non-Hodgkin?s lymphoma, miscarriages, and attention deficit disorder. For each of the hazards identified in these studies there are also laboratory studies with results that are consistent with the studies of exposed people. There is also laboratory evidence that glyphosate herbicides can reduce production of sex hormones.

Environmental Impact of Glyphosate:

?Studies of glyphosate contamination of water are limited, but new results indicate that it can commonly contaminate streams in both agricultural and urban areas. Problems with drift of glyphosate herbicides occur frequently. Only one other herbicide causes more drift incidents. Glyphosate herbicides caused genetic damage and damage to the immune system in fish. In frogs, glyphosate herbicides caused genetic damage and abnormal development. Application of glyphosate herbicides increases the severity of a variety of plant diseases.


?Aldicarb is a carbamate insecticide and acaricide (pesticide used to kill mites). Like all members of this chemical family, it inhibits the action of an enzyme that is an essential component of both insect and mammal nervous systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Aldicarb is one of the most acutely toxic pesticides registered in the U.S. Less than one thousandth of an ounce is a lethal dose for a human.The Aldicarb fact sheet can be found here:

Human Exposure to Aldicarb:

?In humans, signs of aldicarb poisoning include dizziness, salivation, excessive sweating, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, pinpoint pupils, difficult breathing, and muscle twitching. Death follows if exposure has been high enough. There is evidence that people may suffer acute symptoms when exposed to even lower levels of aldicarb. In addition to its acute toxicity to animals? nervous systems, aldicarb can also have long-term delayed behavioral effects. Exposure to Aldicarb has also been linked to immune system deficiencies, reproductive abnormalities, and developmental delays.

Summary of Aldicarb:

?Aldicarb is one of the most acutely toxic pesticides registered in the U.S. Less than one thousandth of an ounce is a lethal dose for a human. In laboratory animals, it causes chronic damage to the nervous system, suppresses the immune system, and adversely affects fetuses. In human cells, aldicarb causes genetic damage. It is also toxic to birds, fish, shrimp, honey bees, and earthworms. Aldicarb?s primary metabolite is almost as toxic as aldicarb itself. Aldicarb?s agricultural formulation contains a toxic contaminant, dichloromethane, that causes damage to hearing, vision, kidneys, and livers and is both carcinogenic and mutagenic. Aldicarb has contaminated groundwater in 27 states and has caused the largest recorded episode of foodborne pesticide poisoning in the United States. Aldicarb manufacturing accidents have resulted in thousands of deaths and many thousands of injuries. It is critically important to implement sustainable alternatives to aldicarb?s use now.

Boric Acid

?Boric acid and borates are naturally occurring compounds containing the element boron. They are widespread and abundant in soil, water, and food. They are often recommended as least-toxic pesticides for killing insects, mites, algae, fungi, and higher plants. Examples of pests for which boric acid and borates are commonly used include fleas, termites, cockroaches, wood-boring insects, and wood decay fungi.For more information, see the Boric Acid section of the Northwest Center for Pesticide Alternative’s fact sheet, which we linked to in the Glyphosate section (above).

Human Exposure to Boric Acid:

?Symptoms of exposure to boric acid used as a pesticide include difficult breathing, headache, lethargy, nausea, coughing, and wheezing. The most significant health concerns associated with exposure to boric acid and borates are their ability to reduce successful reproduction. In laboratory tests, boric acid has damaged sperm, increased the frequency of prenatal mortality (miscarriages), reduced birth weight, and caused a variety of birth defects. In general, these effects occurred during relatively high exposures to boric acid.

Cotton Fabric Versus Cotton Fiber

Cotton Fibers are strands of material made from cotton, polyester, wool, or silk. Cotton fiber is very cheap to produce so it is used often in mattresses. These strands of fiber trap air, creating loft (or thickness of a mattress top that is created by air), which feels good at first, but eventually hardens. Cotton fiber attracts moisture, which causes it to compress and form body impressions.
Cotton Fabric is made from spun thread cotton, and not loose fiber. Spun thread cotton will not compress. Cotton fabric is soft, breathable and comfortable. Sleeping Organic only uses 100% organic cotton fabric.

How Much Cotton Is Grown Globally?

According to the fourth annual Organic Exchange Farm and Fiber Report 2009, organic cotton production grew an impressive 20 percent over 2007/08 to 175,113 metric tons (802,599 bales) grown on 625,000 acres (253,000 hectares). According to the Organic Trade Association, organic cotton was grown in 22 countries worldwide with the Top Ten producer countries led by India and including (in order of rank) Turkey, Syria, Tanzania, China, United States, Uganda, Peru, Egypt and Burkina Faso. Approximately 220,000 farmers grew the fiber. More information from the 2015 version of their market analysis can be found here:

Organic Cotton References

Adnan Ali, Muhammad, Imran Sarwar Muhammad, and Adnan Ali Muhammad. Sustainable and Environmental freindly fibers in Textile Fashion (A Study of Organic Cotton and Bamboo Fibers).University of Boras 2010.9.14 (2010): n. pag. University of Boras. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. < >.

Becker, Robin. What is Organic Bedding?? N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. <>.

?Chemical Information Pages.Beyond Pesticides. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <>.

Cox, Caroline. Aldicarb.Journal of Pesticide Reform 12.2 (1992): 31-35. Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <>.

Enviromental Protection Agency. Human Health Government, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. <>.

Environmental Protection Agency. About Government, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. <>.

Guerena, Martin, and Preston Sullivan. Organic Cotton Production.National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service. N.p., 1 Mar. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <>.

Harding, Deborah. About Organic Cotton N.p., 13 June 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. <>.

?Herbicide Factsheet Glyphosate.Journal of Pesticide Reform 24.4 (2004): 10-15. Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <>.

?Organic Cotton Facts.Organic Trade Association. N.p., June 2010. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. < >.

Organic Farming Research Foundation. N.p., 2010. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <>.

Organic Trade Association. Organic Cotton N.p., June 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. <>.

?Pesticide.Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. <>.

?Pesticide Factsheet.Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. N.p., 2010. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <>.

?Pesticide Fact Sheet Boric Acid and Borates.Journal of Pesticide Reform 24.2 (2004): 10-15. Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <>.

?Pesticides Commonly Used On Cotton.Toxic Free NC. N.p., 2008. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. < >.

?Statistics of Fertilizers and Pesticides .National Agricultural Statistic Services. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <>.

Wahlig, Hannah. What Are the Benefits of Organic Bedding?? . N.p., 2 June 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. <>.

Wahlig, Hannah. What Are the Benefits of Organic Bedding?? . N.p., 2 June 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. <>.