Cotton farming in the United States uses only about 3% of the farmland, but 25% of the pesticides. To put it in perspective, it takes 1/3 of a pound of chemicals to produce one t-shirt. Organic cotton is cotton that has been grown without chemicals on land that has been chemical-free for at least three years. It must be certified organic by a third party—in the U.S., the Department of Agriculture regulates this process. Cotton that is grown without chemicals, but on land that has not yet been chemical free for a full three years, is referred to as transitional cotton.
Organic cotton garments cost more than conventional ones—up to 50% more. Some manufacturers use blended fibers with 10-25% organic cotton to help keep the cost of the garments down while still supporting sustainability. Organically grown cotton feels, looks, and can be washed just like regular cotton.