BEIJING — Traces of toxic chemicals harmful to the environment and to human health have been detected in products made by 14 top clothing manufacturers, Greenpeace said Tuesday.
Samples of clothing from top brands including Adidas, Uniqlo, Calvin Klein, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lacoste, Converse and Ralph Lauren were found to be tainted with the chemicals, known as nonylphenol ethoxylates, the watchdog said at the launch of its report "Dirty Laundry 2".
Greenpeace campaigner Li Yifang said that nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), commonly used as detergents in industries including the production of natural and synthetic textiles, were detected in two-thirds of the samples the group tested.
"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.
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"Even at low levels, it represents a big threat to the environment and human health," Li said.
"This is not just a problem for the developing countries where textiles are made.
"Since residual levels of NPEs are released when clothes are washed, they are in effect creeping into countries where their use is banned."
The latest investigation came after Greenpeace last month published "Dirty Laundry", in which it accused the manufacturers of well-known textile brands of polluting major rivers in China with chemical waste.
Following the publication, brands including Puma and Nike pledged to eliminate all toxic chemicals from their manufacturing processes by 2020, Li said.