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Greenpeace finds toxic threads

January 14, 2014

Environment organization Greenpeace has found toxic chemicals in children’s clothing made by major fashion brands. The chemicals don’t pose a direct health risk but are dangerous when released into nature.

Greenpeace activists display a big banner that reads 'Zara, detox your fashion' in November 2012. Copyright: EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Following testing of children's clothing and shoes made by 12 global fashion brands, several hazardous chemicals had been found in 82 pieces, environment organization Greenpeace said Tuesday.

Testing had been carried out within Greenpeace's Detox campaign and on products sold by Adidas, Burberry, Disney, American Apparel, GAP, Primark and Nike among others.

Every brand tested was found to have products containinghazardous chemicals, Greenpeace said, including, for example, nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), which would break down in the environment to form hormone-disrupting chemicals, as well as cancer-causing perfluoroctane acid (PFOA). In others, traces of phthalates had been found, which may damage fertility or unborn children, Greenpeace added.

“These chemicals can be found in everything from exclusive luxury designs to budget fashion,” Greenpeace chemicals Expert Manfred Santen told a news conference in Hamburg.

Noting that there was no distinction in levels found children's clothing to those in adult fashion, Santen also said that children were especially vulnerable to the adverse affects of chemicals.

Textile Production in Low-Income Countries

He also said that the toxic threads didn't pose an immediate health risk, but would impact the human reproductive, hormonal and immune systems when released into the environment.

Under its Detox campaign, Greenpeace has already forged an alliance of 18 fashion brands, including Mango and H&M, which promised to completely abandon the use of toxic chemicals in the products by 2020.

The organization has now called on China, which is the world's largest textile producer, to help facilitate chemical elimination and supply chain transparency for the industry.

uhe/dr (dpa, AFP)