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Greenpeace airs Dirty Laundry

New study reveals names of clothing brands guilty of using hormone-disrupting toxins in their products.

fashion and trends Updated: Aug 28, 2011 00:23 IST
Surabhi Chauhan

In an age when everyone is talking about ethical fashion a new research commissioned by Greenpeace International, a global campaigning and environment watchdog, has shocked the world. Titled Dirty Laundry 2, the study reveals that clothing and certain fabric-based shoes sold by 14 popular clothing brands are manufactured using nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) which breaks down into toxic nonylphenol (NP).

Nonylphenol is a persistent chemical with hormone-disrupting properties that builds up in the food chain, and is harmful even at very low levels. The study revealed that the toxic levels detected from such practices has hormone disrupting properties that alters sexual development and affect reproductive system of animals and aquatic life when the water from washing of such garments is released in the ecosystem.
Some of the 14 brands where residues of NPEs were detected are Adidas, Calvin Klein, Converse, Kappa, Lacoste, Nike, Puma, and Ralph Lauren.

“Every time clothes containing these chemicals are washed, hazardous substances are released into waterways across the world.” said Yifang Li, Greenpeace campaigner. Currently, the big brands have already started cleaning up their act. Nike and Puma have released a statement committing to cleaning up their supply chains. Adidas representative Katja Schreiber said, “ We will continue work towards further decreasing the amount of chemical substances used in our supply chain.”

Youngsters in the city however have a mixed reaction. “I am cautious before purchasing any clothing that isn’t eco-friendly. I won’t be wearing clothes of these brands unless I’m sure their product is harmless,” says Palak Mehta, 25, while 18-year-old Amol Kumar says, “Even though this is an eye-opener, I can’t suddenly forego my loyalty to these brands.”