Big-Brand Clothing Found Laced with Toxic Chemicals


Written by Rachel Cernansky, a Treehugger blogger

Samples of clothing from 14 of the most popular brands in the U.S., including Adidas, Uniqlo, Calvin Klein, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lacoste, Converse and Ralph Lauren, have tested positive for toxic chemicals known as nonylphenol ethoxylates, according to a recent report by Greenpeace. NPEs are harmful to the environment and to human health—and the effects are not limited to where the clothes are manufactured.

“Since residual levels of NPEs are released when clothes are washed, they are in effect creeping into countries where their use is banned,” said Greenpeace campaigner Li Yifang.

AFP reports that the chemicals are commonly used as detergents in industrial processes, and were detected in two-thirds of the samples the group tested.

More from AFP:

“NPEs break down to form nonylphenol, which has toxic, persistent and hormone-disrupting properties,” Li told journalists in Beijing.”It mimics female hormones, alters sexual development and affects reproductive systems.”

Greenpeace said it purchased 78 branded clothing samples — mostly made in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines — from 18 countries around the world and subjected them to scientific analysis.

“Even at low levels, it represents a big threat to the environment and human health,” Li said.

The report, “Dirty Laundry 2,” follows last month’s “Dirty Laundry,” which accused the manufacturers hired by major international brands of dumping chemicals directly into major rivers in China.

Days after the report was released, Puma and Nike announced plans to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their products by 2020.

Adidas has been criticized for not making such a pledge, but Business Green reports that the company responded today that it is in talks with competitors to develop an industry-wide collaboration to develop chemical management programs.

This post was originally published by Treehugger.

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Photo from jaimelondonboy via flickr creative commons


Nikhil D
Nikhil Dutta4 years ago

Best to avoid these brands

Manuela B.
Manuela B5 years ago

Really??? I didn't realise that the poisoning of the human race went this far...should have guessed though. When you think about it we're f@#*#d i'm suprised were lasting this long.

Sarah M.
Sarah M6 years ago

Well duh, who doesn't realize this? All clothing that isn't from 100% organic fibers is laced with nasty, extremely harmful, chemicals.

Charlie Parkinson

Lovely. Icky environmental drawbacks to an already polluted world, and more "female mimicking molecules" entering my already female-hormone packed bloodstream without my consent or knowledge. Just Lovely.

Jane R.
Jane R6 years ago


selin d.
sveta bonp6 years ago

its time to make our own clothes!

Megan Camarena
Megan Camarena6 years ago

This is beyone horrible! We cannot sit back while this is happening. I find it beyond despicable that this was even allowed to happen in the first place. The cherry on top to me is that this is happening in other countries. Perhaps if we supported American made clothing, this wouldn't be happening. Plus we would have the added benefit of more American jobs. Sounds like a win win to me.

Hayley Zacheis
Hayley Zacheis6 years ago

Oh my god....that really, really sucks. I love my Converse! Yikes - I won't be buying anything else from those places again.

Jeramie D.
Jeramie D6 years ago

Now i know why I keep wearing the same old clothes over and over. This is terrifying.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson6 years ago

thanks for the information