Of a sample of 141 items of clothing, made primarily in the “Global South” (developing countries), Greenpeace International reports finding high levels of phthalates in four, amines from the use of certain azo dyes in two, and nonylphenol ethoxylates in 89. Greenpeace considers the presence of any NPEs, phthalates, or azo dyes that can release cancer-causing amines, all inherently hazardous substances, as unacceptable.
The survey did not constitute a representative sample of clothing brands. From these results it is not possible to know the distribution of toxic substances across clothing items or the extent to which toxic substances in clothing have an environmental or health impact. Clothing with NPEs at the highest concentrations – above 1,000 ppm – included items branded as C&A, Mango, Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Zara, Metersbonwe, Jack & Jones, and Marks & Spencer.
Greenpeace International is based in The Netherlands. Analytical chemistry for the study was carried out at Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter in the UK.
A summary and links to detailed reports can be found at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/big-fashion-stitch-up/