What To Do To Avoid These 12 Most Offending Endocrine Disruptors

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If you didn’t catch our last blog, read Why You Need To Know About This 12 Endocrine Disuptors to understand why it’s so important to avoid them.

Each offender is listed below with ways to avoid each:

BPAs:  This is largely found in plastics, so avoiding plastics all together would be great, but we know how hard that is.  Some things you can do:  Cut down on canned foods.  You may never have noticed the coating inside, but many cans are lined with BPA.   Try giving up plastic bottles and foods in plastic, and never microwave anything in plastic.  Plastics that are particularly concerning and to avoid are anything marked with PVC, 3V, PS, PC, or the numbers 3,6,7 (you’ll find these in the triangles such as on the bottles of bottles.) When someone asks you at the register if you need the receipt, say no.  Thermal paper is coated with BPA and enters the bloodstream quickly, especially if you’ve cleaned your hand with hand sanitizer as those are “dermal penetration enhancers.”  Not all plastics contain BPA, but if you stay away from those above you’ll be better off.  Also, with those bottles with the 1 underneath, they are made with PET.  It’s easy to remember that with the 1,  it’s made for single use and can contain dozens of chemical additives. Using them more once discharges more bad stuff.

Dioxin:  Ok. These are pretty bad because they are long-lived and build up in our body and the food chain.  Unfortunately since they are so pervasive in the environment we can’t entirely avoid them, but contaminants generally accumulate in the fat of animals, so eating less meat and trimming fat off helps.

Atrazine: Used as a herbicide widely on food crops, especially corn, the easiest way to avoid this is by eating organic. Since it’s also made its way into drinking water invest in a water filter.  There are many water filters that use carbon that remove it.  These can be easily researched on the internet.

Phthalates:  You’ve probably heard of these.  They are incredibly pervasive especially in plastics and cosmetics.  Avoid the recycling number 3 in the triangle when you see it.  Also “fragrance” often times covers the use of phthalates in personal care products.  Because they are used as lubricants in products, you’ll find them in such things as shampoo, laundry detergent, nail polish, and air fresheners. Soft plastics are often softened with phthalates so be aware of that.  Believe it or not, they are also in food…for you macaroni and cheese lovers, 10 varieties of boxed macaroni and cheese products tested for phthalates in their cheese powders. :(

 Perchlorate:   Since it’s found mostly in our produce and milk,  it’s difficult to avoid, but you can get rid of it in drinking water with a reverse osmosis filter.  Making sure you have enough iodine in your diet will help as perchlorate inhibits the function of your thyroid gland.  Iodonized salt is an option.

Fire Retardants:   Since they’re found in couches and upholstered chairs containing polyurethane foam don’t reupholster.  Some states have banned flame retardants, like California.  Otherwise look for TB117 labels on mattresses, pillows, and furniture made with foam and avoid or replace them.  Healthystuff.org is a good resource for doing research on products.

Lead:   Often in old paints, the best way to stay clear if you are in an older home is keep your home clean and rid of dust and replace old windows.  Lead is also found in pipe fixtures.  In 2014 federal law lowered the limit to .25% but prior to 2014 it was common to find new fixtures with up to 8% lead.  Water filters are the best way to protect yourself from lead in piping or fixtures.   Lead is also found in soil, so if you are doing some farming of your own there are low cost tests just to be on the safe side!

Mercury:  Replace old tooth fillings, don’t touch a broken thermometer or broken fluorescent light bulb that contains mercury with your bare hands, or vacuum it up for that matter.  Look at labels on cosmetics especially those marked anti-aging or skin lightening and don’t buy them if they contain “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric”, or “mercurio” or “mercury.”   Also, consider eating less shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish.   This FDA link will help you with fish that are safe and unsafe to eat, especially important if your are pregnant.   As an alternative to these fish, farmed trout and wild salmon have a lot of healthy omega 3s without the toxicity. 

Arsenic:  Coal fired power plants, mining, and agricultural pesticides contribute to its presence in the atmosphere.  Most of the arsenic we absorb is ingested, goes quickly in the bloodstream and is removed in our urine, but at high doses is a poison and can be lethal and cause cancer.  Best thing to do is to eat organic to avoid arsenic sources.  Foods high in arsenic:  Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli and cauliflower as inorganic arsenic is attracted to the high levels of sulfur in these vegetables. Depending where the rice is grown, it can also have high levels of arsenic from the ground water.   Dark-meat fish such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, bluefish, swordfish and salmon can also contain high levels.  This arsenic is organic as it exists naturally in seawater, so it is considered safer. 

PFC’s:  Since these are surfactants that make things non-stick, try avoiding those.  They are in Teflon pans, stain and water resistant coatings on clothes, furniture and carpets.   The more we are exposed to these, the more they accumulate in our bodies and can’t be removed so limiting these as much as possible is a good idea.  Ninety nine percent of Americans already have these in their bodies, so they are persistent and doesn’t look like they are going away any time soon.

Organophosphate pesticides: The best way to avoid these is by eating organic and washing your fruits and vegetables.  Don’t use pesticides in your home or garden, and be careful to exposing yourself to tick and flea medications for your pet.  If you see “chlorpyrifos” in a product stay away from it.  You’ll find it to kill bees, fleas, wasps, hornets, termites and roaches. Most people who are poisoned are often exposed to this chemical.  If you use these pesticides on your lawn, remember that you can bring this chemical inside with your shoes, so consider taking your shoes off at the door.  Check out www.ewg.org/foodnews to learn more.

Glycol Ethers :  We are exposed to these through solvents for resins, paints, varnishes, gum, perfume, dyes, ink, cleaning agents, liquid soap, and cosmetics. Avoid products that have ingredients such as 2- Methoxyethanol and 2-Ethoxyethanol and 2-Butoxyethanol and Methoxydiglycol.  A good resource to use is EWG’s Guide To Healthy Cleaning:  www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners.   For example the Swiffer contains Butoxypropanol and other nasty stuff.  It’s rated a D on EWG’s guide.

While it takes some effort to incorporate new habits and changes, ultimately it's empowering to make choices that feel good for your health and the planet.   It's also a strong statement to companies showing them that compromising products are wrong.  By choosing to avoid what we don't want we are sending our own clean message.

 

Why You Need To Know About These 12 Endocrine Disruptors

image:positivemed.com

image:positivemed.com

We all know that exposure to toxic chemicals is bad for us and just as we stay away from a hot flame, we also learn to stay away from things that are hurtful to us.  But what if there are things that are toxic to us in our daily lives in small doses that we are unaware of?  This is the case of chemicals called endocrine disruptors. They are chemical compounds that mimic estrogen and have the effect of blocking our body’s receptors in doing the job they are supposed to do.  You got it, they have a lot to do with messing around with our bodies and especially our hormones.  Because endocrine disrupting chemicals are similar in structure to natural sex hormones they interfere with their normal functions.  According to the World Health Organization endocrine disruptors cause a variety of health problems from skin problems, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, disruption to hormones, and cancer.  

There are 12 primary endocrine offenders:  BPA, dioxin, Atrazine, phthalates, perchlorate, fire retardants, lead, mercury, arsenic, PFCs, organophosphate pesticides, and glycol ethers.  Many of these are so common and prevalent in our daily lives that they would seem benign, but they are not.

BPAs: Bisphenol A is commonly found in plastic bottles, plastic food containers, dental materials and the linings of metal food and infant formula cans.  It’s also in thermal receipt paper you commonly get from vendors at stores and restaurants because the thermal paper is coated with BPA clay which allows for inkless printing.  Analogous to BPA is BPS, Bisphenol S is also found in thermal paper, plastics and personal care products.

Dioxin: It’s a by-product of industrial processes involving chlorine.  You can find it in chemical and pesticide manufacturing, pulp and paper bleaching, and waste incineration.  Currently banned in the US, it took 27 years for the EPA to release reports on Dioxin and unfortunately they are highly prevalent in our environment.  Most exposure to dioxin is through the diet and accumulates in animal fat.  Also, if you were to use a coffee filter that contained dioxin, 40-70% of the dioxins would leach into your coffee.

Atrazine:  Atrazine is an herbicide that is one of the most common if not the first chemical contaminant of ground and surface water in the United States.  It is primarily used on corn and lawns.  Banned in Europe, the safety of Atrazine remains very controversial in the US as people criticize the EPA for what constitutes safe limits.

Phthalates:  Phthalates is a large class of chemicals used to soften up plastics and vinyl to make them more flexible. Phthalates are also used as binding agents.  They are used in everything from plastic bottles, food packaging, household cleaners, fragrances and personal care products.   In 2008 some phthalates were banned in children’s products however remain unregulated otherwise.  More recent research has also linked these chemicals to asthma, ADHD, obesity and TypeII diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, along with reproductive, male fertility issues and cancer.

Perchlorate: Perchlorate is an oxidizer that is used in propellants in solid fuel for rockets and missiles.  They are also used in fireworks, highway safety flares, common batteries, and automobile restraint systems. It has been found in groundwater.  It is primarily toxic because it disrupts iodide uptake in the thyroid. 

Fire Retardants: PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are a class of compounds found in flame retardants used in plastic cases of televisions and computers, electronics, bedding, carpets, sofas, lighting, car components, foam cushions, clothes,  and other textiles.   These are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in that they bio-accumulate and persist in the environment. They are difficult to get rid of and are harmful in product recycling.  PBDE concentrations have been found in food, indoor dust and sewage.  It is toxic to the liver, thyroid, and neurodevelopment. It has been shown to reduce fertility.  Some states have voted to reduce or ban the use of PBDEs.

Lead:  Lead is a toxic metal that is found in old lead based paints and walls of old houses and toys. It was banned in 1978 in the manufacture of paints.  Occupational exposure is the main cause of lead poisoning today.  Today lead poisoning is usually caused by long exposures to small amounts of lead in paint, the air, water, soil, food and manufactured goods.

Mercury: Mercury is an element which is toxic.  It’s found in the food chain mostly in fish from contaminated waters.  Industrial mercury pollution is often in an inorganic form, but as it finds its way towards rivers and lakes it is converted to its most lethal form,  methylmercury.  For many years it was a part of different medicines including diuretics and antiseptics and used in dental fillings.   Today mercury is still used in LCD screens, fluorescent lights, and thermometers.  You might find it in old appliances. Mercury is highly toxic and can greatly harm the brain and liver, and wreak havoc on the body in various ways.

Arsenic: Arsenic is a chemical element that is found in many minerals and is used in alloys.  Used commonly in the semiconductor industry, it is the second most used after silicon.  It is also used in the production of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.    Arsenic contamination of groundwater is prevalent around the world and affects many people.

PFC’s:  Perflourinated chemicals (PFCs) are a group of manufactured compounds that are used to make things for resistant to stains, grease and water.  These are found in surface protectant clothing, non-stick coatings, and in contaminated water and food such as fish.   These accumulate in the body over time.    Health concerns include the liver, thyroid, pancreas, and hormones.

Organophosphate pesticides:  These are the most widely used pesticides serving as insecticides.  They are used in agriculture, the home, garden, pest abatement such as mosquito, and in veterinary uses.   Farm workers particularly suffer from cardiovascular and respiratory disease and cancer. These pesticides can cause permanent damage to a fetus.  Organophosphates can lower testosterone and alter thyroid levels.

Glycol ethers -  Glycol Ethers are a group of solvents used in paints and cleaning compounds.  There are two classes, the E Series and P Series.  E Series can be found in pharmaceuticals, sunscreens, cosmetics, dyes and liquid soaps.  P Series can be found in degreasers, cleaners and aerosol paints, solvents and adhesives, and are marketed to have lower toxicity that the E Series.   Although ethers are biodegradable they have shown human exposure to be harmful to the lungs, liver and kidney, and have resulted in neurological and blood effects including anemia, fatigue and nausea.  Some studies have shown that exposure to ethers is correlated to low sperm count.

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The scale of exposure and the magnitude of the problem of being exposed to these chemicals is not known; data is scattered, problematic and many times debated between different lobbying groups. However debatable the scope, it is particularly alarming that many studies that have been done around the world show declining sperm count and semen quality over the last 25 years.  It has been referred to as the “silent sperm” crisis.

Whatever is happening,  and whatever state of denial we find ourselves in, it is pretty safe to say that endocrine disruptors are not good for us.   If you can mitigate your exposure, it’s a good idea.

It may take extra effort to stay away from these chemicals, but as the effects are often accumulative, what you do now will not only help you today, but will also help your future self and those around you.  We'll be looking at some of the ways you can avoid these disruptors on our next blog. 

Doing Something For World Elephant Day

Written by Joyce Hu, Marketing and Creative Director of Wildlife Works

Written by Joyce Hu, Marketing and Creative Director of Wildlife Works

Why is this day important?

Prior to European colonization, scientists believe that Africa may have held as many as 20 million elephants; by 1979 only 1.3 million remained. Today, Africa’s savannah elephant population is estimated at just over 350,000.

The current rate of species decline is 8%, meaning that elephant numbers could more than halve to 160,000 in nine years. If nothing changes, localized extinction is almost certain. source

Why is this happening?

The main threats to elephants are:

(1) The Ivory Trade: A recent research by Save the Elephants revealed that an estimated 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa between 2010 and 2012. That’s an average of 96 Elephants that were killed every day in Africa.

(2) Habitat Loss: Elephants are increasingly being crowded out of their habitats. Humans are encroaching these lands for farming and infrastructural development, which leaves elephants with small patches of disconnected land.

What is Wildlife Works doing?

For years, the land between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National parks in Kenya served both as home to a slowly failing cattle ranch and as the main migration corridor for local wildlife moving between the two National Parks. When we first encountered Rukinga, the community and the wildlife were at odds. Rukinga was a bruised, balding land, barren of wildlife. Cattle had grazed the fields into dust, poachers slipped on and off the ranch with ease, and trees were being clear cut along the area’s critical rainwater basin.

In 1998 we convinced the local community to let us establish the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary that covers 80,000 acres of forest. We established a community works project providing the locals with an alternative income stream in place of poaching and clear cuttin. We brought on locally hired rangers and trained them to be wilderness guardians. We got the owners of the cattle to remove the cattle from the land to reduce conflict over resources.

Soon after, we started seeing elephants coming back. We now have over 11,000 elephants within the Tsavo ecosystem. We made it our mission to always protect these elephants through our social enterprise businesses which include our fair trade factory and carbon development projects.

The Elephant Protection Trust was established to create additional financial support to our rangers so that not a day will go by without their daily patrols.

 

Joyce Hu is the Marketing and Creative Director for Wildlife Works @wildlifeworks, the world’s only carbon neutral, fair trade factory protecting wildlife. Based in Kenya, Wildlife Works factory produces for ethical brands such as PUMA, Globein, Raven & Lily, Lalesso and more. Her 15+ years in fashion also includes founding thebookr.com @thebookr, the first online direct-to-talent booking platform; www.sustainablefashionalliance.com, a member-based group of sustainable fashion professionals; and most recently, marlinray.com @marlin_ray_ , beach accessories that serve up beauty, function and sustainability. 

Shop Wildlife Works Tees through August 14th, on Modavanti.com and 10% will be donated to the Elephant Protection Trust.

Get To Know Your Cotton; Fun Facts

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I recently attended an organic cotton event where one of the cotton growers had grown red cotton and was trying to discover the demand for it. I left surprised that there had once been four standard colors of cotton - green, brown, red and tan.   Here are some other fun things to discover about cotton:

  • Naturally colored cotton originated about 5000 years ago in the Andes.  Most of the naturally colored cotton that exists is attributed to having been created by indigenous peoples of South America.  By the 1990's most of all of the colored cotton cultivated in South America, Central America, Africa and Asia had been replaced with white commercial varieties.   The cultivating of naturally colored cotton is now relatively rare. 
  • Cotton flowers are bisexual, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs and can thus self pollinate.
  • Cotton is one of the oldest known fibers in history and has been harvested, spun and woven in the same way around the world.  It may have existed in Egypt as early as 12,000 BC.
  • European and American currencies are made of cotton.  U.S. currency paper is made of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen.   Crane and Company has supplied the U.S. Treasury with currency paper since 1879.
  • Cotton fibers vary in length and color, and determine the grade of the cotton.  The longer the length the better.  Short staple cotton which make up 85% of production is up to 1 1/8" long, long staple fiber is between 1 1/8" and 1 1/4" long and  extra-long staple fiber is between 1 3/8"and 2" long.  The longer the fiber the softer and more durable it's considered.  Pima cotton, Egyptian cotton, and Sea Island cotton (extra rare) are all extra long staple. 
  • Confused about organic cotton?  Organic cotton uses non-GMO seeds, no toxic chemicals in its production.  Conventional cotton accounts for 16% of worldwide pesticide and 7% of the world's insecticide usage.  Organic cotton preserves natural ecosystems and is healthier for farmers.
  • Organic cotton makes up less than 1% of cotton produced.  The average organic cotton farmer farms about 11 acres, which is relatively small. 
  • Why cotton towels? Cotton can absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water.
  • In 1905 the Wright Brothers covered the wings of their aircraft in cotton they considered it so durable. 
  • And finally, cotton candy is not made of cotton! :)  

 

 

Would You Want To MAke This Shirt?

By now you've probably read or heard about the cost of fast fashion.  It's largely been a race to the bottom, where volume and low quality are supposed to be  the winning combination.  Over the years we have been successfully programmed to feel like we aren't doing well if we don't get a great deal, or if we don't have something new for that next occasion.  But do we actually like the clothes we are buying, and do they last? Are they well made and are they healthy?  It's rare that we think of clothes effecting our health, but unfortunately toxic dyes and chemicals make their way into our clothes and environment because of poor regulation and cheap manufacturing.  In cheap production, people also suffer along the way by not earning a living wage and working in compromising conditions, in essence living a life of modern day slavery.   

Not all clothes are made cheaply, but you have to ask yourself when you buy that inexpensive shirt that seems too good to be true, that maybe it is too good to be true.  If you had to take responsibility of the production of that shirt would you want to? 

Orange is the New Textile

Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena founders of Orange Fiber

Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena founders of Orange Fiber

Bananas, pineapples, coconuts and oranges... you might be thinking summer and smoothies, but did you know they make great textiles too?  Innovation is kicking in as people look for sustainable alternatives to traditional textiles such as cotton and synthetics. Cotton is  labor and water intensive, and when not organic uses large amounts of insecticides and pesticides.  Synthetic textiles don't biodegrade, are made of petroleum, and aren't so great for the environment.  Resourceful people are now finding ways to reuse waste that would otherwise be thrown away.  In the Philippines,  The Philippine Textile Research Institute estimated that banana plantations there alone could generate over 300,000 metric tons of fiber.  Pinatex, a textile that comes from pineapple leaves that are usually left to waste is showing up in more bags and shoes. The material resembles canvas and is biodegradable.  The husks of coconuts have fibrous qualities that can also be transformed into textile.  North face currently uses cocona - the textile developed that uses a combination of coconut shells and volcanic materials to make a performance wear fabric.  The newest textile is made from oranges.... that idea came out of Italy, from two Sicilian women who wanted to transform citrus byproducts into a new sustainable textile.  They created Orange Fiber, a new eco-sustainable textile that thanks to nano-technology also has cosmetic qualities, and hydrates the wearer's skin like a nourishing cream!

Now we're talking....bring on the innovation and the smoothies! 

 

 

 

The Scientific Benefits of Yoga and Breathing

This Mother's Day, we probably could all use a deep breath.  Whether it's spending time with your mom, being a mom, or remembering your mother, try to destress for the occasion. New  research has found that wellness and breathing go hand in hand.

What researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine have found is that there are a handful of nerve cells deep in the brainstem that connect breathing to states of mind. This tiny cluster of neurons link respiration to relaxing, attention, excitement and anxiety.  Think of this area as a sort of pacemaker.   What's fascinating is that scientists were able to identify subtypes of breathing in the neuron subpopulation - such as for anxiety, chilling, or alertness.  These neurons in term activate the brain to its state of current arousal and emotion. 

There is more research to be done in this area, but it's clear that breathing plays a role in how we feel and in deep states of meditation.  It's an effective way of calming ourselves down when we need to, a type of tool for us to be aware that we have at our disposal.  For those of you yogis out there, you can feel good about your practice of pranayama, the control of your breathing to shift your consciousness...keep up your practice, and focus on your breathing next time you go to class.  And for those of you who aren't yogis, it's worth trying it out.  The mind-body benefits are clear. 

Mom did us a favor when she told us to calm down and breath....Thanks Mom!  If you can, for Mother's Day, think about returning the favor and having her share in a yoga class with you! 

Depicts the pathway from the neural cluster or "pacemaker" for breathing to the rest of the brain. 

Depicts the pathway from the neural cluster or "pacemaker" for breathing to the rest of the brain. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you do to keep polluting chemicals out of fashion? Sign the Manifesto

By now you probably know that most of our clothing is made in a way that adversely affects people and the environment, and that the results of using toxic chemicals with no or little regulation has harmed all of us greatly.  The chemicals are staggering, and even more sadly, our fresh water supply is becoming scarcer at a time when our global needs are only becoming more pressing and greater. 

The Greenpeace Fashion Manifesto is a global movement united in the effort to end fashion's toxic pollution.  Greenpeace is asking top fashion brands to be accountable and protect our waters, eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals.

Their Fashion Manifesto:

We are a global movement of fashionistas, activists, designers and bloggers united by a belief that beautiful fashion shouldn't cause toxic pollution. Sign the Fashion Manifesto and become a part of this people power movement.

1. We believe that brands and suppliers must act immediately to stop poisoning waterways around the world with hazardous chemicals.

2. We recognise that this will not happen over night, and want brands and suppliers to be transparent about what chemicals they are releasing into the environment on the road toward toxic-free fashion. It is our water, we have a right to know.

3. We believe in rewarding and collaborating with honest and progressive suppliers and brands, and will encourage others to do the same.

 

SIGN THE MANIFESTO >>

Fashion Fights Back: How Patagonia and Indigenous are Taking a Stand for the Environment

Fashion Fights Back: How Patagonia and Indigenous are Taking a Stand for the Environment

Indigenous Fair Trade fashion is once again taking the lead when it comes to the environment. 

Launching the Modavanti mOBILIZE Collection

Last weekend we marched in record numbers. Millions took to the streets in D.C., New York, L.A., Austin, S.F., Detroit and hundreds of other cities around the world. From Honolulu to Anchorage, Miami to Maine, women and men came out in mass to make their voices heard. 

We marched too and were inspired not only by the incredible groundswell that the movement has produced but by the humanity, the love and of course the magnificently tongue-and-cheek galvanizing signs. To see men, women, parents, children, people of every faith, color, background and religion was incredibly uplifting. The energy, passion and love, electrifying. The movement can't end here. 

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We all need to get more involved. As individuals, we are pledging to support organizations doing great work, to call our elected officials and to speak up to injustices that affect us and others. As a tribute to the many heartwarming and funny signs that dotted the march, we are launching a new collection of activist tees so you can continue to wear your values!

Introducing our mobilize collection. If you thought the march was impressive,  just wait til you see how nasty the future will be because we are going to bring it.

While we are facing an uncertain future, one thing is clear: Our voices will be heard, we are ready to mobilize and we will not be denied our rights.

Show your support for women's rights, human rights, animal rights and environmental rights with our made in America Modavanti x American Apparel Mobilize collection.

Shop the full collection here:

Check out some of our favorites below:

Behind the Brand: Smart is Beautiful with 4 All Humanity

Behind the Brand: Smart is Beautiful with 4 All Humanity

On the Million Woman March we celebrate the empowered women, the strong women, the independent women and the men and women around the country who know that Smart is Beautiful!

2017 Is the Perfect Time to Switch to Clean Organic Beauty Products

2017 Is the Perfect Time to Switch to Clean Organic Beauty Products

5 reasons that you need to clean out your cosmetic cabinet and switch to organic beauty in 2017

A few Ways to Sustainably ring in 2017

The New Year is always a chance for a reset. A chance for a fresh start and a chance to reflect on what we all want to improve on over the months ahead. Here are 5 easy ways to commit to being more sustainable in 2017. 

1. Buy clothing that adds value not stuff to your life. 

We all have closets that are jammed with our clothes. How many of those pieces do you wear each week? Worse how often do you have to get rid of (hopefully you're using Modacycle) your new favorite top or sweater, because it wasn't made to last. Buying sustainable, well made clothing that you can proudly wear again and again is so much more rewarding than only wearing something once. Even that thrill of buying something new wears off if you don't really love it. Treat yourself to fewer, better made clothes that you know are not only special to you but good for your health, the environment and others as well. Modavanti's badge system allows you to search by what matters to you most. 

2. Switch to a non-toxic beauty routine

Like our food, conventional beauty brands in every price range- from top-of-the-line to the eye-liner in your local CVS are full of toxic chemicals. Everything from shampoos and conditioners, lotions, face washes to wrinkle serums, deodorants, sunscreens and perfumes are loaded with chemicals that get absorbed through the skin. The average person uses 10 different kinds of products daily, which amounts to absorbing almost 130 different chemicals in your body. To make matters worse, there isn't enough research that shows us just how much these chemicals, some which are carcinogens, affect our health. That's why it's equally important to switch to non-toxic, organic beauty products. If you are unsure what ingredients are in your products or are looking for an easy source to find safe products, you can shop Modavanti and visit Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database to use their toxicity rating system (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/).  

3. Give up meat a few times a week and make sure your fruits and veggies are organic

According to Emmy Award winning documentarian Shawn Heinrichs, giving up meat once a week is the shocking equivalent of saving the equivalent carbon emissions of 3.2M cars driving daily. If you are a big environmentalist or animal rights activist, it's one of best acts you can take to lower our carbon output. However, if you still love your steak, make sure to accompany it with organic vegetables from the farmers market. Non-organic fruits and vegetables are sprayed with as many as 60 types of harmful pesticides that their thin skins, and ours, easily absorb.

4. Get involved with an environmental organization 

There are so many great groups that are doing critical work to defend our environment and wildlife. Getting involved with an environmental organization like Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund or Greenpeace is a great way to learn about environmental problems and be part of the solution. You can find local organization by state here: http://www.greenpeople.org/EnvironmentalOrganization.cfm
 

5. Yoga and Meditation 

Yoga and meditation are great outlets to find peace and quiet that have huge health benefits. Whether it's relieving stress and anxiety, decreasing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, increasing production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA, increasing your flexibility or improving sleep, yoga and meditation are excellent natural ways to set yourself up for a healthy, happier 2017.  You might be a beginner at yoga, but you can look like a seasoned pro with Modavanti's athletic wear collection: http://modavanti.com/women-activewear/

8 Must-Read Books on Where Our Clothes Come From

8 Must-Read Books on Where Our Clothes Come From

What's better than laying in the sun on a warm summer day (or killing time on the subway) with a good book. Whether you're just beginning...

Done Good: The App for doing Good over the Holidays

We've been waiting for an app that could help inform shoppers about stylish sustainable alternatives and provide them an easy way to shop brands that matter. So when we heard Done Good was launching, we were thrilled! Done Good is a new browser extension and mobile app which helps you choose ethical and sustainable options when you shop for anything online. All you need to do is download the free extension, and when you search for say, "dresses," DoneGood will provide search results for products and  businesses that are committed to supporting workers' rights and environmental protection.

As a company, DoneGood's mission is to "build tech products that lead U.S. consumers to new businesses you can feel good about supporting." The extension works by scouring the earth for brands making unique products that are built-to-last, while at the same time supporting their workers, lifting people out of poverty and preserving the environment.

The best part is that you don't have to change your routine. Simply search on Google or Amazon or visit a company website say Bloomingdales or J. Crew, and when there's a DoneGood company that is a match, the extension provides it as a better option.

Modavanti is already proud to be a partner and has been featured in the new DoneGood browser extension. As a further incentive to for you to support the card, we’ve provided a $20 off discount code for all extension users. ;)

To get the discount you can download the extension here. 

How it works:

    -Install the free extension  

    -Shop online like you normally would—search on Google or Amazon, or visit company websites such as Bloomingdales or J. Crew

    -When there’s a DoneGood business that has the kind of product you’re looking for, the extension shows you a small alert

    -And you get exclusive discounts with DoneGood brands, so you can save money and do good at the same time

That’s it! You find better, more unique stuff and can feel good about where your money is going—all with no extra effort on your part.

When you support a DoneGood company, you help them succeed.  The more they succeed, the more others businesses will follow suit.  Eventually, even the big guys start to change.  The world gets better. Just because you bought something you needed to get anyway. So go on and do good this holiday season! 

 

The Causes We are Giving to for #GivingTuesday

It's been a tumultuous past month for many of us. In particular, there are many outstanding and brave organizations that are anxious about the years ahead. They are nervous that their work will become harder, that the people they help will be ostracized further, that their lands and rivers will be polluted beyond saving. Now, more than ever, we need to stand up for and support the values we hold dear. In this spirit of continued commitment to fighting for what we believe in, we are doing a special #GivingTuesday sale that supports our incredible Modavanti brands and gives back to worthy organizations that can use our collective support more than ever.

Through tomorrow, everything on the site is 10% off (use code: GiveGood). 

We are matching that sale with a 10% donation in your name to 5 organizations who need support more than ever. Whether you care about climate change, civil liberties, refugee rights, women's health or Standing Rock your purchases will make a difference in more ways than one! Vote with your wallet and join us in making an impact during the holiday shopping season. 

Why we are supporting these 5 organizations:

1. NRDC: The NRDC creates solutions for lasting environmental change, protecting
natural resources in the United States and across the globe. As an organization it "seeks to influence federal and state environmental and other agencies to reduce global warming, limit pollution, and generally conserve energy and increase sustainability of commerce and manufacturing. Our earth is under assault from climate deniers. This work is more important than ever.

**The charity monitoring group Charity Navigator gave the Natural Resources Defense Council four out of four stars in its three rating categories: overall, financial practices, and accountability & transparency

2. ACLU: Since the election there have been an unacceptable and unnerving spike in hate crimes. The ACLU's mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." In response, the ACLU has stepped up it's Human Rights project which advocates for protecting immigrants rights, gay rights, and minority rights. This is more critical than ever. 

3. IRC: The Russian aided Assad regime's massacre of its people in Syria has displaced 10M people, forcing more than 3.5M refugees to flee Syria completely. Millions more have escaped ISIS, the fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and dozens of other conflict zones around the world. The IRC is a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, that offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster. The IRC is currently working in over 40 countries to help the greatest influx of refugees the world has seen since WWII. 

4. Planned Parenthood: This one is easy. Women's health is under assault here in the US and globally and Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health services such as "birth control and long-acting reversible contraception, emergency contraception, breast and cervical cancer screening, pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; sex education, vasectomies,LGBT services, and abortion," both in the United States and globally. Few organizations do more to promote women's health in rural and poor areas. 

5. Standing Rock: Last but not least, is Standing Rock. We have been so impressed with the tribes of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and the protesters who have joined them to protest the building of Dakota Access Oil Pipeline which is a violation of their territorial lands and endangers their main water supply that their communities are dependent on. Harsh winter and a more brutal national guard threaten the protests camps. We must all stand with the People of Standing Rock. Your donation will go to vital supplies, food, blankets, shelter and other necessary gear and items to help the protesters continue their efforts. 

Happy Thanksgiving + Why We Commit to Sustainable Fashion

Like most of you, we woke up two weeks ago in a state of shock. The election felt like a repudiation of the progress that has been made over these past 8 years. But seeing all of your facebook posts and hearing your plans to redouble your efforts to protect our accomplishments and work towards further positive change has served as great motivation to continue our own efforts in regards to Modavanti and sustainable fashion.

Considering the fight that lies ahead, sustainable fashion is more important than ever. Those who have read this blog or heard us speak on the subject, will know that fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world.

But what is not as well known is how much an agent of change sustainable fashion can be. Yes, we must push back against the big companies that are doing wrong. But we must also support the smaller labels and organizations that are producing the right way as sustainable fashion can be a powerful force for good. 

In fact, sustainable fashion is in the only industry in the world that makes progress on almost every U.N. Millenial Development Goal. Through Modavanti we have worked with many incredible brands that are creating impact through economic development by providing dignified work to textile workers, protecting the environment by reducing chemicals and waste, empowering women by offering them ownership of their artisan co-ops and rebuilding American manufacturing by proudly producing here at home.  

Whether drawn to the craft by an interest in fashion or a desire to create change, there are many designers and brands that are building a better future not just for themselves but for the collective good.

And what enormous good they are making. From The Akola Project, which through its jewelry provides training, jobs, security and hope to women artisans in Uganda; to EcoAlf, which pulls harmful fishing nets and plastic bottles from the ocean and recycles them into high-tech performance wear; to Agave Denim, which sources each detail of their jeans from mills and producers right here in America. These are a few brands making individual efforts. Yet, collectively, they are part of a growing, formidable and sustained movement.

This holiday season, as you buy your presents, it's vital that we vote with our wallets and shop sustainably. Whether you care about your health and buy organic cotton, or look for vegan leather because you are passionate about animal rights; whether you want to support your local economy or promote sustainable economic development abroad, there are hundreds of designers and brands that are standing up for your values. 

Of course, we hope you shop them on Modavanti, but wherever and however you buy this holiday season, it has never been more critical that we buy what we believe and wear what matters.

Thank you for all of the inspiration and good work so many of you have done and for strengthening our faith that yes, together we will all make a difference. It's been a long two weeks but the arc of history will always bend towards progress.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for and much still left to do. Let's do it together!

The Modavanti Team