ITMF’s Cotton Contamination Survey 2011

ZURICH, Switzerland — January 2012 — “After some improvements in the recent past foreign matter,
stickiness and seed-coat fragments in raw cotton pose serious challenges to the cotton spinning
industry worldwide.” This is the general conclusion to be drawn from the “Cotton Contamination
Survey 2011” which has just been released by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation
(ITMF). The survey is carried out every other year, the 2011 edition being the twelfth in the
series since the changeover to a new methodology in 1989. In the 2011 report, 119 spinning mills
located in 24 countries evaluated 71 different cotton growths.

Contamination — slight increase

The level of cottons modestly or seriously contaminated as perceived by the spinning mills
from around the world rose slightly from 22% to 23% compared to the last survey in 2009. A closer
look at the extent of the contamination shows that 7% (2009: 6%) of all cotton evaluated were
seriously contaminated by some sort of foreign matter whereas 16% (2009: 15%) were only moderately
contaminated. As the summary data are arithmetic averages of the different contaminants, the extent
of contamination is fully illustrated only by the results for the individual contaminants. They
range from 5% for “tar” (2009: 4%) to 51% of all cottons processed being moderately or seriously
contaminated by “organic matter”, i.e. leaves, feathers, paper, leather, etc. (2009: 42%). Other
serious contaminants are “inorganic matter” (31%), “fabrics made of cotton” (30%), “strings made of
woven plastic” (29%) as well as “fabrics made of woven plastic” and “strings made of plastic film”
(28% each). The most contaminated cotton descriptions considered for the survey originated in
India, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, China and Turkey. In contrast, very clean raw cottons were produced in
the USA, (Texas High Plains, Arizona, Pima, USA-Others, Memphis and California), Syria, Benin,
Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Greece and Australia).

Stickiness — significant rise

The presence of sticky cotton as perceived by the spinning mills increased in 2011
significantly from the record low of 16% in 2009 to 20%. While this level is still lower than the
long-term average, the level of stickiness is still considerable high and remains a major challenge
to the global cotton spinning industry. Descriptions that were affected most by stickiness were
those from India (DCH, MCU-5, India-Others), Syria, USA (California, Pima), Spain, Mali and
Uzbekistan (Medium-Staples. On the other end of the range, cottons from Argentina, Turkey (Izmir),
USA (Arizona), Egypt (Giza), India (J-34) and USA (Texas High Plaines) were not or hardly affected
by stickiness.

Seed-coat fragments — noticeable jump

With regard to seed-coat fragments the Cotton Contamination Survey 2011 shows that their
appearance in cotton growths remains an issue for spinners around the world. 38% of cotton spinners
(2009: 31%) claim that they have encountered seed-coat fragments in the cotton growths consumed.
This is a jump of 7 percentage points, up from only 31% in 2009, the lowest level since including
measuring the level of seed-coat fragments in the survey in 1991. The origins affected most by
seed-coat fragments are those from Nigeria, India (India-Others, MCU-5, Shankar-4/6, J-34) USA
(South Eastern, California), Ivory Coast and Turkey (Turkey-Others). Cotton descriptions for which
the existence of seed-coat fragments was negligible (prevalence of less than 20%) included those
from Australia, Benin, India (Others), Pakistan (Others), and the US (California, Texas High

A free download of the complete survey can be found on the ITMF website. Please use the
following link:

Posted on February 27, 2012

Source: ITMF