ICAC Releases Two Major COVID-19 Documents: Market Impacts and Why Cotton Is Best for Masks


For Immediate Release 
Date Posted: 5 June 2020
ICAC Releases Two Major COVID-19 Documents: Market Impacts and Why Cotton Is Best for Masks

The cotton and textile industry has been suffering terribly since the global economy was essentially shut down by the novel coronavirus but it’s been difficult to assess the damage so far — and even harder to find something positive to report on.

However, the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) has released two documents that address those situations:

  • ‘Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on the Cotton Market’ is a four-page brochure that outlines the current situation on supply and demand, prices and trade, as well as potential scenarios for each sector under a slow recovery or a speedier one. It also describes policy responses to the pandemic and recommendations for the industry as a whole to mitigate the damage.
  • ‘The Role of Cotton in Face Masks’, a research paper that reached a clear conclusion about making non-surgical face masks to protect against COVID-19 infection and spread: Cotton is superior to synthetics and other fibre types. The critical finding is that cotton’s ability to absorb, dehydrate and deactivate the virus — combined with the fact it’s biodegradable and can be impregnated with antimicrobial nanoparticles — make it the best choice for non-surgical, do-it-yourself face masks.

ICAC Executive Director Kai Hughes said that while the statistics and data in the Impacts report give readers a sense of where the industry stands right now, another important aspect of the report is ‘that the ICAC is providing recommendations — specific actions that governments and organisations can consider now to help facilitate the recovery — and it also shows how policy responses could potentially impact that recovery timeline’.

SOURCE: ICAC (Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on the Cotton Market)

Dr Keshav Kranthi, Head of ICAC Technical Services and primary author of the cotton masks document, said there are three critical characteristics that make cotton so effective in face masks: hydrophilicity, rough surface/adhesion hysteresis and a high iso-electric point. ‘Where synthetics are hydrophobic and repel water, cotton absorbs it and destroys the envelope of moisture that surrounds and protects the virus’, he explained. ‘Cotton’s rough surface is much better for trapping nano-sized virions than the smooth surface found on synthetic fibres, and its higher iso-electric point is effective at reducing the virus’s survival and recovery efficiency’.

SOURCE: ICAC (The Role of Cotton in Face Masks)

Both of the documents have been posted online and are available free of charge to all:

Market Impacts: https://bit.ly/3gYZu1S

Cotton Face Masks: Click here



About the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)
Formed in 1939, the ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It acts as a catalyst for change by helping member countries maintain a healthy world cotton economy; provides transparency to the world cotton market by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production; and serves as a forum for discussing cotton issues of international significance. The ICAC does not have a role in setting market prices or in intervening in market mechanisms. For more information, please visit www.icac.org.