Top Cottonseed Oil Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 11/12/22 •  11 min read

What are cottonseed oil benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are cottonseed oil pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

cottonseed oil benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on cottonseed oil benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about cottonseed oil benefits and side effects. This will include cottonseed oil benefits for your health and potential risks, cottonseed oil water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if cottonseed oil is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if cottonseed oil is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about cottonseed oil benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Top Cottonseed Oil Benefits And Side Effects


Cottonseed oil health benefits may include:

Cottonseed oil side effects may include:

When applied topically, cottonseed oil benefits may include:

Additionally, cottonseed oil is…


Water footprint: moderate, it takes 3,957 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of refined cottonseed oil / 474 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of refined cottonseed oil

Carbon footprint: likely low, 1.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of oil crops, a car driving equivalent of 4.25 miles or 6.75 kilometers

Destruction: low, cottonseed oil is relatively sustainable, there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. *as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy organic, as pesticides contaminate soil, water, air, etc., if cotton is not organic lots of pesticides used, often GMO seeds, up to 16% of the world’s pesticides are used in cotton farming every year, chemicals degrade soil and pollute water and poison cotton pickers

Cottonseed oil is…


Kills: none, cottonseed oil production does not require any animals

Harms: none, cottonseed oil production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from cottonseed oil production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Cottonseed oil is…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Cottonseed oil…

Where does most cottonseed oil come from?

The world’s top cottonseed oil exporting country is USA, Uzbekistan, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Zambia, Malaysia, Turkey, Greece and Germany.

India produces the world’s most cottonseed oil followed by China, Brazil and Pakistan.

Is cottonseed oil nutritious?

Cottonseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fat (the good kind) vitamin E and antioxidants but also high in saturated fat.

cottonseed oil is acidic.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is cottonseed oil alkaline or acidic?

Cottonseed oil is acidic.

What is the pH level of cottonseed oil?

Cottonseed oil has a 3.5 pH level, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

cottonseed oil is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is cottonseed oil gluten free?

Yes, cottonseed oil is gluten free. Cottonseed oil does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

cottonseed oil is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is cottonseed oil a common food allergen?

No, cottonseed oil is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to cottonseed oil but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

cottonseed oil has a moderate water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does cottonseed oil have a high or low water footprint?

Cottonseed oil has a moderate water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of cottonseed oil?

It takes 3,957 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of refined cottonseed oil / 474 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of refined cottonseed oil.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

cottonseed oil likely has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does cottonseed oil have a high or low carbon footprint?

Cottonseed oil likely has a low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of cottonseed oil?

It takes around 1.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of oil crops, a car driving equivalent of 4.25 miles or 6.75 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

cottonseed oil must be organic to be sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is cottonseed oil eco friendly? Is cottonseed oil sustainable?

Cottonseed oil production must be organic to be sustainable. If not organic, cotton production involves extremely heavy usage of toxic pesticides.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

cottonseed oil is vegan but harmful to wildlife if not organic.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is cottonseed oil vegan?

Yes, cottonseed oil is vegan. Cottonseed oil comes from the seeds of cotton plants and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, unless organic, cotton production is harmful to ecosystems and wildlife due to heavy and toxic pesticide usage.

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

cottonseed oil has labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is cottonseed oil a product that has known labor issues?

Yes, there are reports of worker mistreatment and exploitation regarding cotton farming. Cottonseed oil has labor issues.

For cotton farmers, many workers die every year. They face harmful exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsanitary housing, lack of safe drinking water. There are sexual harassment and rape reports from women workers in India (the world’s second highest cotton producer).

There is forced adult and child labor in Uzbekistan (one of the largest cotton exporters in the world). Every year, the government orders schools to close and enforces millions of adults and children to devote all efforts for the nation to meet their cotton field quotas. The government threatens, detains and tortures activists who want to help the situation. The government refuses to end forced labor. Similar issues regarding child labor occur in India. Several hundred thousand children must give up their education to work in the cotton industry. In Uzbekistan, among other nations, there can be little or no pay. If adults refuse work, they will lose their employment, pensions and child benefits.

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.


Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade – USDA Foreign

Cottonseed oil: A review of extraction techniques

Oil, cottonseed, salad or cooking – FoodData Central

Cottonseed Oil and Food Safety

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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