Cotton Contamination Gains Worldwide Attention

High-level delegates from India visit Texas to address concerns of cotton contamination. 

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LUBBOCK, Texas-High-level delegates from India visit Texas to address concerns of cotton contamination. Cotton Grower reports that the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) recently traveled to Lubbock, Texas to explore the region’s cotton production system.

India is one of the biggest producers in the apparel and textiles markets with readymade garments from the country accounting for $17 billion of product in 2017. Despite the country’s prominence in these industries, many industrial tasks related to textile and apparel production are still done by hand, including cotton picking. “Since Indian cotton is handpicked, trash levels should, theoretically, be lower,” explains the news update by Cotton Grower. But poor handling of the product in addition to cross-contamination from unsanitary storage techniques results in higher trash levels in Indian cotton.

Under the direction of India’s Ministry of Textiles, the CCI’s visit to the Lone Star state helped officials learn more about procedures for contaminant-free cotton manufacturing. The Texan facilities use mechanisms such as multi-levels of drying seed cotton and pre-cleaners to reduce the contamination of the product.

In addition to cotton contamination through trash and lint, Professor Eric Hequet, chairperson of the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech University, tells Cotton Grower that other products like plastic grocery bags pose a growing issue. “The industry is very aware of this issue and works tirelessly to eliminate this source of contamination,” states Hequet in the report. “Several research groups in the United States and in Australia work on early detection and removal of plastic contaminants.”

Cotton contamination is a problem organizations continue to deal with both domestically and internationally. In 2017, a report from Southeast Farm Press discussed the issue of plastic contaminants in cotton harvested in the southeastern U.S. The report attributed a significant portion of the pollutants to the yellow plastic used to bind round cotton bales.

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