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.

 

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? 

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!

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 

Radically Transparent Everlane Is Suspiciously Secretive

A little more than five years ago, a new challenger to J. Crew emerged promising radical transparency. A San Francisco startup, Everlane burst onto the scene with it's direct-to-consumer prices and promises of being able to trace your products. Such claims garnered a spot on Fast Co.’s 20146 “50 Most Innovative Companies” and the coveted exponential growth (Everlane earned $12M in 2013 and doubled that in 2014). 

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The marketing was brilliant. Buzzy slogans such as the aforementioned "Radical Transparency" and "ethical fashion," its clever infographics that showed the cost of everything and its effortless Cali cool style, made it the go-to brand for millennials. So much so that mainstay brands watched with grave concern.

But something seems amiss. For a company that promises such openness in an industry long know for its opaqueness, Everlane is rather secretive. Everlane won its adoring fan base through promises it had 'disrupted' the dark side of the fashion industry by shortened simplified supply chains and the ability to show exactly how and why each piece was priced as it was. Everlane's two main claims were its "world-class factories" and the fact it had cut out the middlemen. 

It is the first point however which is increasingly under scrutiny. According to the brand, the "world-class factories" are “the very same ones that produce your favorite designer labels.”

Yet somehow, as retail-focused website Racked noted in an article last year, “For all its talk of transparency, Everlane is extremely tightlipped about internal goings-on. Preysman was the only Everlane employee offered up for this story, and no one from the design or creative teams was made available to be interviewed. Repeated requests to visit the brand’s New York office were declined.”

What gives?

As eco-fashion pioneer, author and founder of the website Magnifeco points out, "A closer look at Everlane’s website and marketing materials – complete with enormously vague language in place of definitive facts to support its claims of transparency and ethical production – reveals that there is almost certainly more at play in the Everlane model than meets the eye."

Which is to say, Everlane lists all the locations of the factories and what cities they are in, but doesn't list the name of the factories because of "trade secrets." Send up the red flag. 

As a distraction, Everlane lists the weather in the cities as well as smiling employees at each factory. Instead of listing the factories by name they tell you what each factory produces such as "The Specialty Knits Factory" or "The Casual Wovens Factory." It's hard to believe a brand that proclaims radical transparency when they hide the most important piece. That's like 

Somehow H&M is more transparent than Everlane. It identifies 98.5% of its first tier factories/suppliers by name and address, and even lists some of these factories’ suppliers. Freaking H&M! The largest fast fashion conglomerate in the world...! 

According to Everlane's founder Michael Preysman, Everlane has a relatively straightforward reason why the company can't release it's factories telling the Wall Street Journal in 2013 that the company withholds their names in order to prevent competitors from utilizing the factories that he and his team have “spent months finding.” Preysman says he simply “doesn’t want competitors moving in on his turf.” We're not sure if we are buying it. It didn't work out so well for the most recent SF CEO to promise radical disruption while still maintaining company secrets. 

Ultimately, we are huge fans of the concept and the idea. The fashion industry needs disrupting. Supply chains need to be simplified and we all have a right to know where our clothing came from. But to promise radical transparency, something no one insisted Everlane do, and yet be so evasive and opaque about where things are actually produced isn't right and goes against the company ethos of “Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why.” Which is what we intend to do. We've reached out to Everlane to learn more and will update this article when we hear back.

GO VOTE! Why We're With Her

GO VOTE! Why We're With Her

Tomorrow, if you believe in climate change and clean air and water, women's rights around the world and the promise of entrepreneurship, there is no clearer choice for President.

Fashion Faux Pas: Why is The World's 2nd Dirtiest Industry Not Represented at Climate Week?

Imagine going to an Italian restaurant and not seeing pasta on the menu. Or going to a parent-teacher conference to learn that math and science isn't part of your child's curriculum. Or signing up for a healthcare plan and discovering that none of your prescriptions are covered. 

Welcome to Climate Week. With over 90 different sanctioned events throughout New York City, there is a gaping hole in the critical discussions taking place. Climate Week has failed to address the world's second dirtiest industry: fashion. 

 Photo Credit: Fairfashioncenter.org

Photo Credit: Fairfashioncenter.org

Over the past 8 years since Climate Week was set in motion, fashion has barely registered, taking a back seat to finance, food, even faith. 

It's as if the whole industry is still recovering from fashion week. Important conversations on the future of green tech, impact investing, and smart cities are all ongoing while fashion sleeps off its hangover and silence emanates on the role it can play in igniting its potential to help solve climate changes. 

Given its size and scope, environmental transformation of the fashion industry is the most under reported and valued piece in achieving the UN's climate change objectives. While fashion is currently the world's second dirtiest industry as measured by the effects of its pesticide usage, toxic dye runoff into waterways, the sheer volume of waste (both manufacturing waste and post-consumer waste), and destructive water and land usage among other factors, accelerating the potential of fashion as a force for good could solve many of the environmental challenges being discussed this week and make the importance of climate change relatable to millions of consumers.

Fashion is uniquely positioned to unleash enormous social and environmental good.  It is the only global industry that could affect change for almost all of the UN Millenial Development Goals including reducing waste and pollution, protecting lands and cultures, empowering women, ending slavery, promoting fair labor, and restoring biodiversity. 

Currently, cotton, chiefly grown for fashion, uses 22.5% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all pesticides, while only accounting for 2.5% of agricultural land. The majority of these pesticides are laced with harmful toxins and cancer causing carcinogens. Within 20 years, the biodiversity of the sprayed fields are wiped out. Rivers and water sources surrounding cotton fields are often too toxic to drink from. Humans too, are affected.  Between 25 to 77 million agricultural workers worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning.

 Photo Credit: Levis Strauss

Photo Credit: Levis Strauss

 

Organic cotton only accounts for 2% of global cotton production. Increasing that number even 5x would go a long way toward saving the earth and its people by protecting huge swaths of land and water biodiversity.

So too would decreasing the amount of toxic dyes in our clothing. As many as 8000 synthetic dyes, hundreds that are toxic, are known to be used in fashion production resulting in 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution worldwide. According to the UN, water pollution and water scarity are the two biggest impediments towards defeating extreme global poverty. Facts like that make the 1,800 gallons of water used to make a pair of jeans seem almost criminal. 

Fortunately, companies have taken significant steps to address pollution and water usage. Levi's has developed "water-less" demin production (a process that has been adopted by other denim brands) saving tens of millions of gallons of water per year. Companies like Color Zen are developing new ways to dye fabrics with minimum to no environmental footprint. Vegetable dyestuffs are now increasingly gaining market share. 

Nevertheless, progress will be limited unless we tackle fast fashion and its insatiable marketing of consumerism that fuels the 1.2 trillion dollar a year clothing industry. 

In 1950, 98% of Americans clothing was made in the U.S.A. Today, that number has been flipped. Only 2% is made here. Meanwhile, adjusted for inflation, the price of your average t-shirt and jeans has dropped almost 8x in that same time frame. It's no wonder that when the shirt at an H&M in Soho is the same price as a burger down the street, we as a society no longer value the integrity of our clothes. This has led to a throw-away culture that acquiesced to Americans tossing 10.5 million tons of clothing a year into landfills (which accounts for 8% of all landfill waste).

 Photo Credit: Bionic.is

Photo Credit: Bionic.is


Companies like Bionic yarn, which has created a stronger thread made from plastic water bottles, and Recover, which is able to recycle cotton, offer hope. So too does the rise of the slow fashion movement.

As long as fashion is not included, change can not fully occur. Until the industry and climate activists alike demand action, fashion's potential as a force for good will be spun as a tale of regret. 

Fashion Faux Pas: How is The World’s 2nd Dirtiest Industry not a Topic at Climate Week?

Imagine going to an Italian restaurant and not seeing pasta on the menu. Or going to a parent-teacher conference to learn that math and science aren’t part of your child’s curriculum. Or signing up for a healthcare plan and discovering that none of your prescriptions are covered.

Welcome to Climate Week. With over 90 different sanctioned events throughout New York City, there is a gaping hole in the critical discussions taking place. Climate Week has failed to address the world’s second dirtiest industry: fashion.

Over the past 8 years since Climate Week was set in motion, fashion has barely registered, taking a back seat to finance, food, even faith.

It’s as if the whole industry is still recovering from fashion week. Important conversations on the future of green tech, impact investing, and smart cities are all ongoing while fashion sleeps off its hangover and silence emanates on the role it can play in igniting its potential to help solve climate changes.

Given its size and scope, environmental transformation of the fashion industry is the most under-reported and under-valued piece in achieving the UN’s climate change objectives. While fashion is currently the world’s second dirtiest industry as measured by the effects of its pesticide usage, toxic dye runoff into waterways, the sheer volume of waste (both manufacturing waste and post-consumer waste), and destructive water and land usage among other factors, accelerating the potential of fashion as a force for good could solve many of the environmental challenges being discussed this week while at the same time make the importance of climate change relatable to millions of consumers.

Fashion is uniquely positioned to unleash enormous social and environmental good. It is the only global industry that could affect change for almost all of the UN Millenial Development Goals including reducing waste and pollution, protecting lands and cultures, empowering women, ending slavery, promoting fair labor, and restoring biodiversity in our fields and waterways.

 Photo credit: Levis Strauss

Currently, cotton, chiefly grown for fashion, uses 22.5% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all pesticides, while only accounting for 2.5% of agricultural land. The majority of these pesticides are laced with harmful toxins and cancer causing carcinogens. Within 20 years, the biodiversity of the sprayed fields are wiped out. Rivers and water sources surrounding cotton fields are often too toxic to drink from. Humans too, are affected. Between 25 to 77 million agricultural workers worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning.

Organic cotton only accounts for less than 2% of global cotton production. Increasing that number even 5x would go a long way toward saving the earth and its people by protecting huge swaths of land and water biodiversity.

So too would decreasing the amount of toxic dyes in our clothing. As many as 8000 synthetic dyes, hundreds that are toxichttps://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/dyeing-textile-sector-water-risks-adidas, are known to be used in fashion production resulting in 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution worldwide. According to the UN, water pollution and water scarity are the two biggest impediments towards defeating extreme global poverty. Facts like that make the 1,800 gallons of water used to make a pair of jeans seem almost criminal.

Fortunately, companies have taken significant steps to address pollution and water usage. Levi’s has developed “water-less” demin production (a process that has been adopted by other denim brands) saving tens of millions of gallons of water per year. Companies like Color Zen are developing new ways to dye fabrics with minimum to no environmental footprint. Vegetable dyestuffs are now increasingly gaining market share.

Nevertheless, progress will be limited unless we tackle fast fashion and its insatiable marketing of consumerism that fuels the 1.2 trillion dollar a year clothing industry.

In 1950, 98% of Americans clothing was made in the U.S.A. Today, that number has been flipped. Only 2% is made here. Meanwhile, adjusted for inflation, the price of your average t-shirt and jeans has dropped almost 8x in that same time frame. It’s no wonder that when the shirt at an H&M in Soho is the same price as a burger down the street, we as a society no longer value the integrity of our clothes. This has led to a throw-away culture that acquiesced to Americans tossing 10.5 million tons of clothing a year into landfills (which accounts for 8% of all landfill waste).

Photo Credit: Bionic.is

Companies like Bionic yarn, which has created a stronger thread made from plastic water bottles, and Recover, which is able to recycle cotton, offer hope. So too does the rise of the slow fashion movement.

As long as fashion is not included in climate discussions, change can not fully occur. Until the industry and climate activists alike demand action, fashion’s potential as a force for good will be spun as a tale of regret.

Why East Africa is Banning Western Clothing Donations

Every few months you open your closet and are horrified to find once neatly stacked sweaters falling out? You try opening your dresser drawers but can't because too many socks are crammed in there. It's Friday night and you go to pick out an outfit and find yourself choosing between 12? We know the feeling.

Like most Americans you crack and decide in a you're-already-30-min-late-fueled-hysteria that you are going to simplify your life and clean out your closet. The next morning you reluctantly give away dozens of pieces of clothing and feel proud of yourself for giving back.

Ever wonder where those clothes you donated go? Well... While you may donate them to a charity in the states, across the African continent second-hand clothes from developed countries are ubiquitous. East Africa alone imported $151m of second-hand clothing last year, most of which was collected by charities and recyclers that you gave to in Europe and North America.

In response, earlier this spring several African nations did something bold. The East African Community (EAC), an intergovernmental organisation that counts Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda as it's members, proposed a ban on imported used clothes and shoes. The aim is, to encourage local clothing production and development of lost textile industries. Such a move won't be easy. The reason East Africa's clothing manufacturing sector which once employed hundreds of thousands of people closed, was because donated clothing and cheap imports undercut the prices. That means that clothing prices will rise. But it also means that jobs will come back.

This past week, Tanzania, one of the member states, took an important step towards bringing jobs back. Jenista Mhagama, Tanzania's minister of state released the following statement: “We’re determined to end the importation of used clothes and shoes by 2018. We have organized series of training for young Tanzanians so that they are well-equipped with tailoring skills, who will be employed in the current clothes-making factories and those which are coming in.” 

This is a big trial to see whether or not the plan to bring manufacturing back to Africa can really work. In the meantime, support the EAC's goals by properly recycling your clothing or donating them to local shelters in your local community. You can recycle clothing here: http://modavanti.com/modacycle