Raw Materials


ITMF’s Cotton Contamination Survey 2019

Contamination Level up and Stickiness Level down compared to 2016

“ITMF’s Cotton Contamination  Survey  2019  shows  that  the  level  of  contamination  of  raw  cotton  by  foreign  matters and the appearance of seed-coat fragments have increased compared with 2016, underscoring the importance of clean cotton  to  spinners.  At  the  same  time  the  level  of  stickiness  has  fallen  slightly  to  the  lowest  level.  Furthermore,  the survey  reveals  that  there  are  significant  differences  between  cotton  varieties  when  it  comes  to  the  level  of contamination.” These are the main conclusions to be drawn from the “Cotton Contamination Survey 2019” which has just been released by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF).  This 15th edition  covers 128 spinning mills located in 25 countries which evaluated 81 different cotton growths.

Contamination – increase

The level of cottons moderately or seriously contaminated as perceived by the spinning mills from around the world grew from 23% in 2016 to 26% in 2019. A closer look at the extent of the contamination shows 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  the individual  contaminants.  They  range  from  6%  all  cottons processed being moderately or seriously contaminated by “tar” to 55% of them being moderately or seriously contaminated by “organicmatter”, 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,  PakistanOthers,  MNH93), Tajikistan (Medium Staples) and  Mozambique.  In  contrast,  very clean  raw  cottons  were  produced  in  Australia,  the  USA,  (Memphis  Territory,  California,  Pima,  South Eastern,  Texas  H. Plains and Arizona), Argentina, Brazil and Spain.

Stickiness – slight decrease

The presence of sticky cotton as perceived by the spinning mills is close to constant (i.e. 16% in 2016 vs. 15.7% in 2019) and remains at the lowest level since 1989. Descriptions that were affected most by stickiness were those from Sudan, the USA (Pima, USA-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 – increase

With regard to seed-coat fragments, the Cotton Contamination Survey 2019 shows that their appearance in cotton growths remains 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 since 2016 (32%). The origins affected 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 USA (California, Pima, Memphis Territory, USA –Others, Texas H. Plains).

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