Monday, 10 December 2012

Toxic Chemicals Exposed in High Street Fashion…and Greenpeace Textile Products

Image source: Ecouterre

Last month Greenpeace released a report entitled Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch Up which exposed numerous global fashion brands for using toxic chemicals during clothing production.

A selection of brands were chosen, clothing items brought and sent to labs for testing to identify any restricted substances. Brands highlighted to be selling clothing with high concentrations of NPEs (hormone distruptive), and/or with the presence of phthalates (hormone disruptive/carcinogenic), amines or azo dyes (can be carcinogenic) included Mango, C&A, M&S and Zara.

I do not agree with such chemicals being used during fibre/fabric/garment production, however I came across a rather interesting article in Ecotextile this afternoon: Toxic Chemicals Found in Greenpeace T-Shirts. Unfortunately a registration is required to read the Ecotextile article, but to sum up it appears that Greenpeace cannot practice what they preach.

Phthalates have been discovered in Greenpeace t-shirts and APE’s in Greenpeace headgear. The article states that Greenpeace has removed the textile products from sale along with suspending other textile merchandise sales. It appears that Greenpeace are none the wiser about what is within their textile products, much like the rest of the industry. The organisation has committed to ‘only be able to sell textiles again when the industry can produce toxic-free fashion.’

Greenpeace are encouraging customers to keep their wears as garment durability is as much a part of their strategy: 

The wearing of our textile products do not pose a health risk. The best way to be environmentally friendly is to make it last as long as possible, so that it stays in your wardrobe and not end up in landfill.

I have tried searching the Greenpeace website for such words, but I cannot find this.

It is interesting how Greenpeace are willing to condemn fashion brands for slip-ups in the incredibly complex global textile supply chain. Will the report be re-issued with their own textile products highlighted within?

Also what will become of the rejected stock they no longer plan to sell. Within the Greenpeace statement they make it clear they do not believe in land filling textile products that have not fulfilled their life. I will be very interested to find out what their solution is with this stock.

In light of the report, Zara has committed to go 'Toxic-Free' and M&S are currently working with Greenpeace to develop new chemical commitments.