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Your Moisture-Wicking Yoga Pants Are Wreaking Havoc On Our Marine Life

in YD News

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So you can file this one under “No Good News.” When you think of ahimsa—non-harming—it’s not usually your yoga pants you’re worried about. But now a new study is telling us that our cozy stretch pants are actually doing more harm to the planet than good.

The problem? Microscopic plastics that shed from your yoga pants into the water every time you wash them. Those tiny bits of plastic (even smaller than microbeads, which were banned in 2015) make their way into the water supply, sewer systems and eventually our natural bodies of water threatening all the fish and marine life. And when the water and marine life are polluted, we’ll all pay the price.

The two-year study led by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium found that these microfibers are popping up in waters from south Texas to the Florida keys (and likely a lot of other places — this is just where they tested).

Synthetic materials often found in yoga pants and other athletic/athleisure items are to blame. “Anything that’s nylon or polyester, like the fleece-type jackets,” University of Florida researcher Maia McGuire said.

Via Associated Press.

Studies of the Great Lakes and New York Harbor and its surrounding waterways found high concentrations of plastics pollution, including microbeads. McGuire’s data from Florida waters, compiled from 1-liter samples run through filters fine enough to catch microfibers missed by the trawls used in the larger studies, adds to the growing amount of research focused on plastic pieces that degrade but never really disappear.

Other recent studies have shown that microfibers can end up in the stomachs of marine animals, including seafood, like oysters.

So how do we stop it? Do we have to stop wearing our beloved yoga pants?? Well, no. For one, you can try and buy clothes made from natural materials like cotton and bamboo.

Scientists are also trying to get the makers of washing machines on board.

“It would be really great if the washing machine companies would get on board and come up with a filter to trap these microfibers,” Caitlin Wessel, regional coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program said.

That would be really great. Until that happens, we can do our best to make conscious consumer choices like buying clothing made from natural materials…and/or never washing our clothes ever again.

(By the way, this has to make you think how these materials are affecting us as we wear them, no?)

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10 comments… add one
  • Esperanza Reeb

    What a beautiful article you guy have down load to the benefit of information. I Know what you are saying, because I have a daughter that has changed so much her life, that people think she is impossible. She doesn’t wear any cloths that are not providing guarantee pure cotton or bamboo. She has a baby that never in five months accepted any garments with all that plastic made off. I have a hair salon that offers 100%organic products, and is light on there scalp, and just because is a bit more expensive, they stop coming in. They do not realized how bad is for a regular salon wasting color on the sink, using harmful bleaches and using dangerous shampoos, found the same results, all it goes to the Ocean. Freezing sprays, gels, foams is so sad to see this people preparing themselves for a painful old age or dying sooner then they expect. Never mind the popular power nail polish, fake nails, all that people will never make it to a good ending. Is sad I am getting almost to close my Beautiful salon, located in a very nice spot, clean gorgeous, but maybe 20 dollars more then what they want to pay. I live in White Rock, British Columbia. Thank you for such a nice educated Article is to bad that people are going to have to learn in the hard way! I feel so sorry for our children…….

  • Spread Your Wings, Not Your Legs

    At this point does anyone really doubt that the American version of yoga — sustained above all by its middle-class women’s dysfunctional addiction to glitz and glamor — is anything but the antithesis of a grounded spiritual approach to the world?

    Maybe we’ll soon discover that yoga pants have exposed the female consumer to ovarian cancer. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

    It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature – in the guise of serving Her!

  • Spread Your Wings, Not Your Legs

    FROM THE ARTICLE —
    “The effects of microfibers in the food chain remain under investigation, but the emerging data has prompted clothing company Patagonia — which makes fleece jackets and other apparel from synthetic materials — to support research into the prevalence of microfiber pollution and promote information for consumers about ways to minimize microfiber shedding in laundry.”

    Okay, yoga girls, now after your next class, go down the street and picket at Lululemon until the company decides to join Patagonia’s campaign?

    Oh, you don’t do public protest? Just flash mobs I guess. What about a letter to the company? Like a polite one? Not that, either?

    I know, it might make the company mad, and you’d be violating your solemn ahimsa oath.

    Well, let’s see….maybe just meditate on it?

    Eh, never mind

  • Marybeth Jones

    There is a new company called Guppy Friend that is doing something about it, much cheaper than a new washing machine. They are making a bag to wash your clothes in that traps the micro particles. Patagonia is planning to sell them in their stores, but there is also a kickstarter for them https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/820419024/guppy-friend-washing-bag?ref=nav_search. Not sure why this wasn’t mentioned in the linked news article.

    • Spread Your Wings, Not Your Legs

      Better hurry!
      $400 yoga pants for the yoga women of means are coming soon!
      And I doubt their undocumented Latina maids have time to fuss with separate washing instructions.

      From:
      BLOOMBERG
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-13/-400-yoga-pants-are-just-the-beginning

      “Quietly, a smattering of new true luxury activewear labels have appeared, each with the hope that affluent shoppers are willing to shell out $300, $400, or more on a pair of pliable pants. Think about it this way: If you’re a luxury shopper who buys $1,500 designer dresses, pays $250 a month for an Equinox gym membership, and totes around a $4,000 Chanel bag, why would you spend a mere $100 on the leggings that you wear to the gym, on errands, and on the weekend?”

      YOGA’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS NOW, ISN’T IT? LADIES, YOU CAN TELL ME. I WON’T TELL ANYBODY

      By the way, I wonder how those mama goats at the yoga farms take to micro-fibers? Do they lead to birth defects? Eh, who cares, they’re just damn goats!

  • Phoebe

    There have been a couple of similar studies here in Australia, also. I don’t have the links to copy here, but they were finding the same microparticles in the stomachs of fish.

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