Friday, December 2, 2022

Why Cotton?

• By Seshadri Ramkumar,
Texas Tech University •

cotton fiber
Photo courtesy University of Georgia

Building demand for cotton is needed as good production potential is expected in the near future.

Cotton is in business as it is presold on its comfort. Speaking to a large audience recently at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers Inc., Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated, highlighted three important aspects of cotton to enhance its demand.

Cotton production in the United States in the near future is expected to reach 20-25 million bales (480 pounds each), that necessitates creating more value and new industrial applications such toxic oil absorbent and insulation products.

According to Worsham, cotton’s advantages fall into three categories: 1) Health/wellness; 2) Strategic benefits and 3) Sustainability. Compared to some synthetics, cotton does not cause skin irritation. Synthetics may retain odor more than cotton and workout clothes from cotton wash much cleaner.

In a survey, it was revealed that 82 percent of consumers surveyed in India stated that sustainability influenced their clothing purchase, in China 64 percent of consumers were influenced by sustainability, while the number in the United States was 47 percent.

Textiles account for about 37 percent of microplastic contamination in water. With growing awareness on the microplastic pollution, cotton being natural, offers competitive advantage, as the fine cotton fibers degrade in water systems. There are predictions that with increase in the synthetics’ usage, the microplastic contamination can grow three times by 2050, which is a serious concern.

The cotton industry is also focusing its efforts to create more awareness among consumers on the fiber content in their clothing, Worsham says.

Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar is a professor of chemical countermeasures and advanced materials at Texas Tech University. Contact him at

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