According to Cotton Contamination Survey 2019 by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), the level of contamination of raw cotton by foreign matters and the appearance of seed-coat fragments increased compared to 2016, underscoring the importance of clean cotton to spinners.
Meanwhile, the level of stickiness fell slightly to the lowest level. Furthermore, the survey revealed significant differences among cotton varieties when it comes to the level of contamination.
This 15th survey edition covered 128 spinning mills located in 25 countries, which evaluated 81 different cotton growths.
The level of cottons moderately or seriously contaminated as perceived by spinning mills around the world grew from 23% in 2016 to 26% in 2019. A closer look at the extent of contamination showed that 7% (2016: 7%) of all cotton evaluated were seriously contaminated by some sort of foreign matter, whereas 18% (2016: 18%) were only moderately contaminated. As the summary data are arithmetic averages of the different contaminants, the extent of contamination is fully illustrated by the results for individual contaminants. They range from 6% of all cottons processed being moderately or seriously contaminated by “tar” to 55% of them being moderately or seriously contaminated by “organic matter”; i.e., leaves, feathers, paper, leather, etc.
Other serious contaminants are “strings made of plastic film” (39%), “fabrics made of plastic film” (39%), “strings made of woven plastic” (36%) as well as “fabrics made of woven plastic” (31%).
The most contaminated cotton descriptions considered for the survey originated in India (MCU-5, J-34, India – others, DCH), Pakistan (NAIB, Pakistan others, MNH93), Tajikistan (Medium Staples) and Mozambique.
In contrast, very clean raw cottons were produced in Australia, the U.S. (Memphis Territory, California, Pima, South Eastern, Texas H. Plains and Arizona), Argentina, Brazil and Spain.
Stickiness Decreases Slightly
The presence of sticky cotton as perceived by spinning mills was close to constant (i.e., 16% in 2016 vs. 15.7% in 2019), and remained at the lowest level since 1989.
Descriptions that were affected the most by stickiness were those from Sudan, the U.S. (Pima, U.S. – others, Memphis Territory, Texas H. Plains, California, South Eastern), Mexico (Juarez) and Turkey (Turkey – others). On the other end of the range, cottons from South Africa, Tanzania (Mwanza, Coastal), China (Shandong, Xinjiang), Mozambique, Chad and Pakistan (MNH93, Pakistan – Others, NAIB) were not or hardly affected by stickiness.
Seed-Coat Fragments Increases
In regard to seed-coat fragments, the survey showed that their appearance in cotton growths remained an issue for spinners around the world. 34% of all cotton growths consumed contained moderate or significant amounts of seed-coat fragments, a slight increase from 2016 (32%). The origins affected the most by seed-coat fragments are those from Turkey (Turkey – others, Cukurova/S.E.), India (India – Others, J-34, MCU-5), Sudan (Sudan – Others) and Pakistan (MNH93, Pakistan – Others).
Countries for which the existence of seed-coat fragments were negligible included those from Tanzania (Coastal, Mwanza), India (Shankar-4/6), Australia, the U.S. (California, Pima, Memphis Territory, U.S. – Others, Texas H. Plains).