Researchers have found hazardous chemicals in clothing, but what are fashion brands doing about it?
reenpeace International, intenational ecowarriors, are now turning their crusade to fashion. Last month, Beijing become somewhat of a platform for the organisation to highlight so-called “toxic fashion”, following the release of their newest report, “Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up.” Greenpeace has taken the initiative to eliminate hazardous chemicals found in clothing, demanding brands to commit to achieving a zero toxic discharge by 2020, dubbing it the Detox campaign.
The research for this report was conducted over 20 different clothing brands known for their ‘fast fashion.’ Among these brands were Calvin Klein, Zara, Victoria’s Secret, and H&M, all found to have hazardous and highly toxic chemicals consisting of Nonylphenol etoxylates (NPEs), phthalates, and cancer causing amines, created during the manufacturing process of the clothes.
When these chemicals are released into local ecosystems, research has shown that the chemicals break down and develop into hormone disrupting and carcinogenic properties , capable of affecting the world’s water supply, and causing fish to change gender. Although many of these toxic chemicals are banned in the US and Europe, the toxins are present across the globe due to many clothing brands sourcing their products from Asia. In China and Vietnam specifically, the restrictions on these chemicals are more relaxed, but because of this, the chemicals are now being found polluting the water supply of the local communities in these countries whose livelihood are dependant on the rivers and waterways where the clothes are being manufactured.
Currently, only eight out of the twenty fashion brands have pledged to join Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, and Zara is one of them. Zara has recently implemented a full disclosure and transparency plan: they will no longer be found guilty of having these chemicals found in their clothing, and will allow their entire manufacturing process to go public to ensure its pledge. Other fashion brands must follow and take a stance; Greenpeace’s Detox is In.
By CheRima Manayan