by Colleen Ward
Do you know what’s in your children’s clothes? Last year, Greenpeace sponsored an analysis of children’s clothing from top brands. In their sample of 82 clothing items, 76 (or 92%) were found to contain a broad range of hazardous chemicals, including phthalates, per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs), nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), and organotins.
These chemicals have all been proven toxic. Several are hormone disruptors that inhibit reproductive development and damage the immune system and the nervous system. While we wouldn’t want to find them in adult clothing, children and babies are especially vulnerable to their effects. The brands included in this study included fast fashion brands, such as American Apparel, C&A, Disney, GAP, H&M, Primark, and Uniqlo; sportswear brands, such as adidas, LiNing, Nike, and Puma; and the luxury brand, Burberry.
Instead of these brands, look for clothing made with certified organic fibers. If safer children’s clothing is not available locally, we can connect you to some wonderful online sources at GreenerDailyLife.com.
To help keep kids safe, here are some additional shopping and cleaning tips to keep in mind from the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Child Health World website:
- Just say no to sandals, shoes, boots, or raingear made entirely or predominantly from rubber- or plastic-like materials. They contain unusually high levels of toxic chemicals. Also avoid shoes treated with anti-microbial chemicals.
- Rid wardrobes of garments screen printed with plastisol, the thick, rubbery material used to create slightly raised designs and logos.
- Don’t purchase clothing promising stain-resistant, waterproof, or odor-fighting performance, technologies which utilize toxic chemicals.
- Steer clear of polyester, which frequently contains traces of antimony.
- Stick to natural fiber clothing, preferably organic.
- Select clothing manufactured in the U.S. and Europe where regulations are generally stricter.
- Don’t add insult to injury. Wash clothing in plant-based detergent without synthetic fragrance, which can contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. And skip the fragrant dryer sheets.
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