Toxic chemicals with “hormone-disrupting properties,” harmful to humans and the environment even at low levels, have been found in clothing and some fabric-based shoes of leading international clothing brands, new research has found.
A new report launched on Tuesday, Dirty Laundry 2: Hung Out to Dry (pdf), reveals leading clothing items carrying such global brands as Adidas, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Lacoste and Ralph Lauren, among others, were found with nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), toxic chemicals with “persistent and hormone-disrupting properties,” according to a statement by Greenpeace International, the group commissioning the research.
“Our research shows that global clothing brands are responsible for the discharge of hazardous chemicals into waterways in China and across the world, as part of their manufacturing processes,” said Yifang Li, Greenpeace East Asia’s Toxic Water Campaigner, in a news release. “People have a right to know about the chemicals that are present in the very fabric of their clothing and the harmful effects these chemicals have when released into the environment.”
For the study, 78 articles of sports and recreational clothing and shoes carrying logos of the top 15 clothing brands were used as analysis by a leading independent laboratory. NPEs are found in detergents used in industries producing natural and synthetic textiles.
An earlier Greenpeace report, Dirty Laundry, released six weeks ago, showed many of the same clothing brands were linked to suppliers in China found to be releasing “a cocktail of chemicals” into the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas.
As a result, a global “Detox” campaign was initiated. Nike and Puma have made public commitments to eliminating hazardous chemical discharges from their products and supply chain, according to Greenpeace.
Greenpeace is calling on all brands and suppliers identified by the report to eliminate all hazardous chemical releases from their products and supply chains. It is also calling on governments to work toward a goal of ‘zero discharge’ of all hazardous chemicals within a generation.