Jackets and other clothing from thirteen countries contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and other serious health conditions
Tuesday, 28 November 2023
A study released today by Arnika, IPEN and 13 IPEN member groups and partners found toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, including globally banned substances in outdoor jackets and clothing purchased from thirteen countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Most of the outdoor jackets were marketed for children and many of the products come into direct contact with skin. PFAS, called “Forever Chemicals” due to their extreme persistence in the environment, are used in clothing and other products to confer stain- and water-resistance. But the study also found jackets and clothing made without PFAS, demonstrating that safer alternatives to the toxic substances are available.
For this study, jackets and other clothing sold as water- or stain-resistant were purchased from 13 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. Most of the jackets tested were marketed for children. Countries included were Germany, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, Serbia, Montenegro, Kenya, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the U.S.
Study finds plastic toys from 10 countries have high levels of toxic chlorinated paraffins
Saturday, 21 October 2023
High levels of chemicals in several toys could qualify them as hazardous waste
A study released today by IPEN and its members from ten countries reveals that shockingly high levels of the toxic chemicals chlorinated paraffins are common in children’s plastic toys. All thirty-one toys tested for the study were found to contain the harmful chemicals, which are linked to cancer, damage to developing brains, endocrine disruption, damage to the liver and kidneys, and threats to reproductive health.
The toys were purchased in Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Malaysia, Mali, Philippines, Uganda, and USA. All toys tested contained both short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs and MCCPs), even though SCCPs were banned globally under the Stockholm Convention in 2017. MCCPs are currently under evaluation for a potential global ban and evidence shows they are equally harmful and warrant the same action. Several toys contained levels of SCCPs above the current proposals to limit amounts of the chemical in hazardous waste, meaning the toys could be considered hazardous waste under health-protective guidelines.
“We were very disturbed to find that our children’s toys contain these highly toxic chemicals. Many plastics contain toxic chemicals, and our study shows these chemicals can make their way into our homes in products our children and families use,” said Mme. Kouyaté Goundo Sissoko from ONG Appui pour la Valorisation et la Promotion des Initiatives Privées (ONG AVPIP] in Mali. “Industry must end their use of toxic chemicals in plastics. Our children deserve safe toys.”
At its eighteenth meeting in 2022, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) concluded in its scientific review that long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids, their salts and related compounds (hereafter called “long-chain PFCAs”) are likely, as a result of their demonstrated long- range environmental transport, to lead to significant adverse human health and/or environmental effects to the extent that global action is warranted.
Chalani Rubesinghe is the Project Planning and Management Officer at the Center for Environmental Justice in Sri Lanka. She completed her Masters degree in environmental science and is author of "Save Environment, Save the Planet."
I have been working on the impact of chemicals exposure on women’s health ever since I joined the Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka in 2012. Starting as an environmental officer through my journey to project planning and management officer, I have worked with IPEN on various initiatives.
In this study by the Nexus3 Foundation and IPEN, we found the “Forever Chemicals” per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in synthetic clothing, food packaging, and other consumer products sold in Indonesia. PFAS are a large family of chemicals known to persist in the environment and linked with serious health impacts, including cancer, heart disease, and infertility. The study today found that 62% of Indonesian samples tested had high levels of PFAS, above the safety limits proposed in the EU for PFAS in consumer products.
Bali, Indonesia and Oakland, CA - A report released today by IPEN and the Nexus3 Foundation shows that microwave popcorn products containing toxic PFAS are made in the U.S. and exported to Indonesia. Independent testing of popcorn products sold in the U.S. and Indonesia made by four major U.S. producers found that all 29 products tested contain PFAS.