Well Being

Toxic Threads? Report Finds Hazardous Chemicals In 20 Big Fashion Brands

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A new investigative report has turned up some ugly truths about the inexpensive, trendy clothes we so love to buy. In “Toxic Threads,” Greenpeace International tested 141 clothing items from 20 major fashion brands and found items from every brand contained traces of hazardous chemicals and carcinogens.

And these aren't Forever 21s and H&M's we're talking about here: The worst offending brands included Calvin Klein, with 88% of items testing positive for endocrine-disrupting nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), followed by Levi's (82%) and Zara (70%).

“Major fashion brands are turning us all into fashion victims by selling us clothes that contain hazardous chemicals that contribute to toxic water pollution around the world, both when they are made and washed,” said Yifang Li, a campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, in a press release.

All of the clothing items tested came from “high street fashion brands” that were purchased by Greenpeace earlier this year from retailers around the world. Overall, four items contained high levels of phthalates (plasticizers linked to obesity, cancer and early menopause) and 89 garments — almost two-thirds — contained NPEs.

“As inherently hazardous substances, any use of NPEs, phthalates, or azo dyes that can release cancer-causing amines, is unacceptable,” says Greenpeace.

Brands with items testing positive for non-trace amounts of phthalates were Giorgio Armani, Tommy Hillfiger and Victoria's Secret.  Eight brands — Zara, Metersbonwe, Levi's, C&A, Mango, Calvin Klein, Jack & Jones and Marks & Spencer — had items with NPE concentrations above 1,000 parts per million.

You can see the whole “Toxic Threads” report here.

Photo: From “Toxic Threads” report

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