Greenpeace: pollutants in textiles

Greenpeace: pollutants in textiles

Protest: Greenpeace against poison in textiles

Our textiles are full of chemicals. They are often real chemical cocktails to prevent mold growth during transport or as a flame retardant. Three quarters of all textiles sold by us are manufactured in low-wage countries where there are hardly any bans on the use of chemicals in the production of textile goods. This reports the Bavarian consumer center in Munich.

A reason for the Tübingen Greenpeace Group to draw attention to the condition. With a collection of signatures, the environmental activists are calling for 2020 to dispense with hazardous chemicals in textile production. Greenpeace had already convinced 18 well-known manufacturers to sign a voluntary commitment. "Greenpeace was in the producing countries," said Ulrike Beck from Greenpeace, "it is sometimes blatant what is accumulating there."

As a rule, these are long-lasting chemicals that accumulate in the environment over time and return to the human body via the food chain. The domestic wastewater treatment plants cannot filter all substances, and this not only pollutes people, but also our environment. In the past, Greenpeace had detected concentrations of harmful substances in children's clothing that in some cases exceeded the environmental organization's internal limit values ​​many times over.

Expensive brands are also affected
A study by Greenpeace concluded that phthalates, PFC, organotin compounds, antimony and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) are not only found in cheap clothing, but also in textiles of high-quality fashion brands. There, too, chemicals have been detected in sometimes alarming quantities. For example, phthalates are suspected of causing damage to the liver and thyroid. The EU has already classified many of these chemical compounds as harmful and a number of proven carcinogenic substances have been banned across the EU.

This assumes that these chemicals can still be found “occasionally” in imported textiles. Independent studies on the effects of textile chemicals are scarce, although they are closer to us than almost any other consumer item.

Carcinogenic substances in the formaldehyde textiles have been shown to cause tumors and the so-called azo dyes have long been banned in Germany. But it doesn't have to be a serious illness like cancer. For many consumers, the chemical ingredients trigger allergies when worn on the skin. Symptoms of respiratory diseases and damage to the immune system are also often observed. Anyone wishing to take part in Greenpeace's signature campaign can register on the company's Facebook page. (fr)

Image: Dmitrij Leltschuk / Greenpeace

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