A recent study commissioned by Greenpeace revealed that clothes and shoes from 14 popular brands could seriously affect our health. Samples from 15 brands have been gathered, but one did not test positive.
The problem with the respective items is that they were manufactured using nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). According to Greenpeace, NPEs subsequently break down to form toxic nonylphenol (NP), which has hormone-disrupting properties.
Moreover, washing these items will only release residual levels of NPEs in clothing into sewage systems, thus contributing to increasing NP levels in the environment.
Although the level of NPEs in any given article of clothing is small, the sheer volume of clothing being sold and subsequently washed means that the total quantities being released may be substantial.
The study analyzed 78 articles of sports and recreational clothing and shoes bearing the logos of 15 leading clothing brands, with 52 of these items testing positive for NPEs.
The respective samples were made from both natural and synthetic fabrics, and included items designed for men, women and children.
Items tested varied from shirts, jackets, trousers, underwear, to fabric-based shoes. They were manufactured in 18 locations from all over the world, (mostly from China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam).
The brands in question are as follows: Adidas, Kappa, G-Star Raw, Puma, Nike, Li-ning, Youngor, Uniqlo, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lacoste, Converse and even Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. The only brand that tested negative was GAP.
As said, the NP acts as a hormone disruptor, affecting reproduction and fertility. This could lead to potential birth defects and developmental delays, and even alter the respiratory system. It can build up in the food chain, such as in fish.
Greenpeace now calls for all the brands to detoxify their global supply chain, especially Adidas which, the agency says, has so far ignored all the requests made.