Trying to avoid “chemicals forever”? Then you may need to change where you buy clothes from.
According to a new dashboard from the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council and Fashion FWD.
The apparel companies have also been criticized for failing to provide “up-to-date, publicly available information on ongoing efforts to phase out these toxic chemicals”.
“PFAS” refers to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of more than 9,000 toxic chemicals used to impart water and grease resistant properties to consumer products, including clothing, according to the three organizations. who published the dashboard.
The groups say the chemicals don’t break down naturally, which is how they contribute to contamination. Also, in the press release, they say:
“Exposure to these chemicals, even in small amounts over time, has been linked to serious health effects, including kidney and liver disease, developmental problems, and cancer.”
The worst PFAS offenders among the apparel companies included in the scorecard — all of which earned “F” grades — are:
- Sports and outdoor academy (parent company of the Academy Sports and Outdoors and Magellan Outdoors brands)
- Capri Holdings (Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo)
- Columbia Sportswear (Colombia, Prana)
- G-III Apparel Group Ltd. (DKNY, Andrew Marc)
- Tapestry Inc. (Coach, Kate Spade)
- under protection
- Wolverine around the world (Wolverine, Merrel)
Several apparel retailers included in the scorecard also earned “F” grades:
- JC Penney
Other big names – including Target, Costco, Nike, LL Bean and VF Corp. (parent company of North Face and Timberland) – fared little better, all earning grades in the “D” range.
In a press release, Emily Rogers of the US PIRG Education Fund recounts the harms of PFAS chemicals resulting from their use in clothing:
“PFAS contamination can occur throughout the garment manufacturing life cycle. It pollutes our waters, can be absorbed through our skin when we wear PFAS-treated clothing, ends up in landfills or incinerated and released into the air. To effectively combat PFAS contamination, apparel brands must stop using hazardous chemicals forever and replace them with safer alternatives.
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