The world loves cotton. Cotton is also a very common material used in clothing. In fact, over half of the cotton consumed in US textile mills each year is converted into apparel.
Most of the products we buy are made from conventional cotton, a very water- and toxic chemical- intensive product to cultivate. For instance, it takes approximately 400 gallons of water to grow enough conventional cotton to make a single undershirt. Cotton is known as one of the ‘dirtiest’ crops; it accounts for about a quarter of global insecticide sales and one-in-ten global pesticide sales. All in all, cotton crops are sprayed with over $2 billion worth of chemicals yearly and more than half of the chemicals sprayed are classified by the World Health Organization as hazardous.
These toxic chemicals have real consequences for the environment -- damaging soil, polluting ground and surface water, and adversely affecting the health of wildlife and insects. They also have consequences for us too as residual pesticides on our clothing can leach into our bodies and cause skin irritation.
Now I can’t speak for all of us, but when I think of irritated skin, one of the worst places to be inflicted are in and around our nether regions… and I feel the same way about my partner.
Organic cotton boxers and briefs are a great alternative. But another option that is fast growing, is underwear made from other plants altogether.
One of the newest brands to hit the men’s underwear market is Woodies. Their boxers, briefs and tighty-(not-so)-whities are made from Tencel®, an eco-friendly material that is insecticide- and pesticide-free so it doesn’t come with the risk of leaching leftover chemicals onto your skin – especially there.
Tencel® aka Lyocell is a biodegradable fabric made from the wood pulp of eucalyptus, a fast growing renewable resource that needs no fertilizer or pesticides and uses very little water to grow. It is also certified by the International Forest Stewardship Council. Other benefits of Tencel® include that it wicks away moisture, is anti-bacterial, is extremely durable, and very soft to the touch.
I have a few Tencel® garments myself and they are amazingly comfortable. If you haven’t yet experienced the material for yourself, trying it for the first time… and down there is not a bad place to start.