Greenpeace finds toxic chemicals in children's clothing

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  • Published: Jan 15, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Atomic / Base Peak

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A widespread Greenpeace testing programme has found low levels of a range of toxic chemicals in children's clothing from major high street brands, although the levels are generally well within acceptable limits. The 82 items of clothing were manufactured in at least 12 different countries and purchased in 25 countries or regions, covering the 12 major brands American Apparel, C&A, Disney, GAP, H&M, Primark, Uniqlo, adidas, LiNing, Nike, Puma and Burberry.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates, phthalates, organo-tin compounds, per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals and antimony were tested by GC/MS, LC/MS and ICP-AES methods outlined in a technical report. Each garment contained at least one of the chemicals, often more, but carcinogenic amines were not found in any of them.

Although the levels are all relatively low, and within acceptable limits for those compounds that have been set "recommended levels" by regulating authorities, Greenpeace is not satisified. The organisation states in its public report entitled A little story about the monsters in your closet that "there is no safe level for hazardous chemicals" and argues for a target of zero as the only credible action.

This stance is based on the perceived overall environmental effect, rather than the risk to children wearing the clothes, via the potential release of the chemicals into wastewater during manufacture as well as from the domestic scene during the clothes washing cycle.

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