In any discussion of organic cloth diapers, "organic" makes a considerable difference.
Traditional cotton diapers ravage two environments-the one in which the cotton grows, and the one where you and your baby live. Organic cloth diapers substantially reduce the risk to the world's precious farmlands, and you can control the threat all cloth diapers pose to your own environment.
Organic cloth diapers mitigate the long-lingering effects of cotton production. Commissioned by the British Environmental Protection Agency, a very recent study documented and detailed cotton's devastation of once-fertile farmlands. Plagued by a host of pests, cotton requires more pesticide than any other cash crop. In fact, British investigators discovered cotton crops account for more than 40% of all the world's pesticide use. Outside the United States and Europe, the majority of farmers still use volatile, toxic, carcinogenic DDT and dioxin, because they most effectively kill pests. Not surprisingly, DDT and dioxin also kill wildlife and poison precious groundwater.
In addition to growing their crops without chemical pesticides, organic farmers also raise their cotton without chemical fertilizers. Traditional cotton farmers have used nearly as much hazardous fertilizer as they have sprayed pesticides. The British researchers found that cotton crops use 37% more nitrogen fertilizer than the second biggest consumer, and they, therefore, account for nearly half of the world's chemical fertilizer consumption. Because cotton depletes the soil of all its nutrients, fields require fertilization not only while the crops mature, but also immediately after harvest and immediately before planting.
Shopping for diapers, you have two choices-100% organically grown cotton, or a blend of hemp and organically grown cotton. All-cotton organic diapers cost nearly twice the price of traditional cotton nappies, because the chemical-free growing process is extremely labor-intensive. Diapers made of the hemp-cotton blend, on the other hand, cost very little more than old-fashioned cotton nappies. Hemp grows abundantly just from nutrients Nature replaces, and it has no known insect enemies, so it requires virtually no pesticides. Moreover, because hemp launders easily and completely, you often can find "recycled" hemp diapers which show absolutely no signs of use.
Although almost all cloth diapers still contain at least 30% cotton, the best organic cloth diapers are woven from earth-friendly hemp and cotton grown entirely without chemicals by family farmers in the world's emerging nations. In your decision about organic cloth diapers, the hemp-cotton mix emerges as by far your best choice.