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Greenpeace study finds toxic chemicals in fashion brand clothing

By Park Sae-jin Posted : November 22, 2012, 18:02 Updated : November 22, 2012, 18:02
A branch of the environmental group Greenpeace has said it found toxic chemicals in fashion brand clothing purchased worldwide.

On Nov. 20 in Taipei City, the Taiwan branch of Greenpeace East Asia presented a report on 20 clothing brands that found nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) in 89 of 141 garments purchased around the world. Many other types of potentially hazardous chemicals were also found, including plasticizers and azo dyes.

Brands identified in the Greenpeace study as containing toxic chemicals included well-known names such as Armani, Benetton, Calvin Klein, Esprit, Gap, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret and Zara, according to Taiwan Today published by Taiwan‘s foreign ministry.

The Taiwanese government moved quickly to address the issue, saying it will test samples of global fashion brand clothing for toxic chemicals.

NPEs are often used as detergents or in the textile manufacturing process, Greenpeace said. They break down in water to nonylphenols, which are persistent and bioaccumulative, and can interfere with the human endocrine system. Plasticizers and aromatic amines from azo dyes are carcinogenic, the organization noted.

The Taiwanese Environmental Protection Administration categorizes NPEs as Class I toxic chemicals, with controls on their use in raw materials and manufacturing, as well as their transport and storage, Taiwan Today said. They are prohibited in the production of household cleaners.

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