By: Tinsley Tullos
Are the costs of branded clothing well worth the save? Nonylphenolethoxylates (NPEs), toxic chemicals, have been found in multiple sources of branded clothing. These chemicals have been found in several brands such as H&M, Lacoste, Calvin Klein, Adidas, Abercrombie and Fitch, Uniqlo and Converse. NPEs were found in a total of 14 clothing manufacturers, posing threats to the population and environment. As a common ingredient in the detergents of natural and synthetic textiles, NPEs were found in two-thirds of the tested samples collected by Greenpeace. Greenpeace, the leading independent campaigning organization that uses responsible and creative communications to expose environmental issues, purchased 78 branded clothing samples to be tested for scientific analysis.
World Wildlife Fund has reported the finding of NPEs in several fish species across parts of Europe that lead to the “feminization” of male fish. These are not the first reports of pollution according to Greenpeace’s “Dirty Laundry.” This document, published just last month, stated that top brand textiles were polluting major rivers in China with harmful chemicals. Greenpeace activists swarmed an Adidas store in Hong Kong in hopes of persuading the store to eliminate the toxic chemicals in their products and to warn customers of these new findings. Factories in the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas were sampled and tested and were revealed to have several different chemicals besides NPEs in their wastewater.
While Nike and Puma have pledged to alter their system of production to eliminate the use of these chemicals by 2020, Adidas has not. Adidas claims that the accused manufacturers were only used to cut and sew their garments, not to supply fabrics. Yau, Hong Kong official, stated, “As the second biggest player in the sportswear industry, Adidas has an obligation to detoxify its global supply chain.”
History shows just how deadly these chemicals can be in that of women’s biological shift. More than 150 years ago, girls began their first periods around the age of 15 and women endured menopause near the age of 30. In today’s society, young girls begin their periods as low as the age of nine, and women go through menopause around the age of 50.
Greenpeace has now published “Dirty Laundry 2” regarding all of the new-found knowledge on NPEs in hopes of bringing awareness to the newest environmental issue. With our skin being the largest organ, it absorbs almost anything with which it comes into contact. Be very cautious when it comes to buying these branded garments.