Toxic substances in your children’s clothes, the hidden and dangerous face of fashion revealed by a new study

How do product labels indicate the presence of PFAS in consumer items used by children and adolescents? One thing seems pretty clear now: Finding baby products that aren’t harmful or free from toxic chemicals is getting harder and harder. And this also applies to those labeled “ecological”

Clothing, bedding and furniture, some even labeled “eco-friendly”, stuffed with PFAS. It’s the latest baffling alarm from a US study that many baby products, including those with green certifications, contain harmful chemicals that aren’t listed on the label.

It was researchers from the Silent Spring Institute who, in a survey published on Journal of Environmental Science and Technology claim that nearly 60% of baby fabrics labeled as “waterproof”, “stain resistant” or “eco-friendly” contain toxic PFAS substances called “forever chemicals”, precisely because they don’t break down not naturally and accumulate in humans.

A study that certainly echoes the Toxic-Free Future report that these substances are found in 72% of clothing and fabrics classified as “water and stain resistant”.

That’s certainly a concern because these toxic chemicals can enter children’s bodies, said Laurel Schaider, one of the study’s authors.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of more than 9,000 compounds typically used in dozens of industries to make products resistant to water, stains, or heat. They are found in thousands of everyday consumer products, such as stain protectors, kitchen utensils, food packaging and rainwear.

It is now well established that these chemicals are linked to cancers, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, weakened immune system, hormonal diseases and a host of other health issues. serious.

I am studying

The Silent Spring team tested 93 various products often used by children and adolescents, including bedding, furniture and clothing. Researchers specifically selected products labeled as stain-resistant, water-resistant, “eco-friendly” and “non-toxic.”

They first used a rapid screening method to test the products fluorine, a marker for PFAS and 54 of the products contained detectable levels of fluoride. The highest concentration was found in a school uniform t-shirt. Products advertised as water or stain resistant, even those labeled as “green” or “non-toxic”, had more likely to contain fluoride and also have higher fluoride concentrations than other products.

The researchers then tested a subset of the products for 36 different PFAS chemicals. PFAS have only been found in products labeled as water or stain resistant, whether marketed as “green” or “non-toxic.” Other key findings:

  • PFASs were most commonly detected in upholstered furniture, clothing, and pillow protectors
  • pillow protectors and clothing in general had higher levels of PFAS than other products
  • PFOA, a PFAS legacy which has been phased out in the United States, has been found in a variety of products, including those labeled “green”. Most of these products came from China.

These are products that children come into close contact with every day and over a long period of time. Given the toxicity of PFAS and the fact that the chemicals don’t perform a critical function, they shouldn’t be allowed in products, says co-author Kathryn Rodgers, a doctoral candidate at the Boston University School of Public Health.

The results of the new study underscore the need for green certifiers to include PFAS in their criteria and to conduct greater scrutiny of the products they certify. Green certifications are created by third-party organizations and provide guarantees that a product does not contain certain harmful chemicals. However, certifications vary in their safety standards and do not all cover the same list of chemicals.

So when is it certain that what we buy is actually safe for our health?

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Sources: Silent Spring Institute / Journal of Environmental Science and Technology

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