Testing was carried out by Greenpeace on products sold by 12 brands across the industry, including American Apparel, GAP, Primark, Nike, Disney, Burberry and Adidas, with the findings showing levels of hazardous chemicals in clothing made for children similar to that of adult ranges when compared to previous studies.

According to the report, A Little Story About the Monsters in Your Closet, every brand tested was found to have products containing hazardous chemicals.

Among the results, one Adidas swimsuit contained higher levels of PFOAs than permitted in its own Restricted Substance List, while printed fabric on a Primark children’s t-shirt contained 11% phthalates, known to be toxic to the reproductive system.

It also found that the toxic chemical NPEs were detected in at least one article from every brand with high levels recorded in products made by Disney, American Apparel and Burberry.

Detox campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, Chih An Lee, said: “This is a nightmare for parents everywhere looking to buy clothes for their children that don’t contain hazardous chemicals.

“These chemical ‘little monsters’ can be found in everything from exclusive luxury designs to budget fashion, polluting our waterways from Beijing to Berlin. For the sake of current and future generations brands should stop using these monsters,” added An Lee.

Hitting back at the allegations, an Adidas spokesperson told edie that the company is concerned with the “manipulative reporting of Greenpeace, as they on purpose report about additional chemicals which were not even found in the products”.

The spokesperson said that this wrongly suggests that the tested products pose a health hazard to the consumer and that this approach “lacks any scientifically sound basis”.

Reacting to the specific allegation on one of the brand’s children’s swim suits, the spokesperson said that it “explicitly points out that wearing the product does not cause any health risks”.

“The tested product fully complies with all applicable international legal requirements. However, we will take the results published by Greenpeace as an opportunity to have the materials verified by an independent test institute again,” added the spokesperson.

Under Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, which calls for major clothing brands to commit to zero discharge of all hazardous chemicals by 2020, 18 major companies have already made landmark Detox commitments.

According to Greenpeace, many, such as Valentino, Mango and Zara, are making significant progress towards their goals of supply chain transparency and chemical elimination.

At the time of publishing, Nike and Primark were not available for comment.

Leigh Stringer

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