Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has
found traces of chemicals
that can pollute waterways in children's clothing and shoes made by luxury
brands, challenging the sector's reputation for higher standards than those of
In a report issued just before
Milan Fashion Week, Greenpeace said it found the substances in products from
Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Hermes, Christian Dior, Louis
Vuitton and Marc Jacobs.
Greenpeace has been campaigning against pollutants
used in the textile industry since 2011. It wants major brands and their
suppliers to commit to stop discharging potentially harmful chemicals in waste
water by 2020.
union restricts industrial use
Concerned about toxicity to aquatic
organisms and the fact some do not biodegrade
easily, the European Union has restricted the industrial use of some of these
chemicals but there are no rules on the sales of textiles containing their
did some tests...
Greenpeace said 12 of the 27 articles it
tested contained residues of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), used in textile
manufacturing which it said can break down into hormone-disrupting chemicals
when released from garments during washing.
a person is hypersensitive to chemicals in the environment
In five items, the group said it also found
per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) used to make garments water
repellent. Five articles tested positive for phthalates, used in printing
designs on clothing, and three for antimony, a compound used to manufacture
The chemicals Greenpeace tested for have
been commonly used in textile manufacturing, but are gradually being phased out
by some brands due to concern about their polluting impact.
Reuters could not independently confirm
Greenpeace's findings, which two of the companies sought to play down.
companies have responded
Armani said its products were
"absolutely safe for consumers" as it complied with international
guidelines that were more restrictive than EU environmental requirements.
Armani said it has committed to abolish all
chemicals which could cause environmental damage to production sites by 2020
and is in discussion on this with environmental groups.
Louis Vuitton said all its products fully
complied with international environment and safety standards, including the
children's ballerina shoes and sneakers that Greenpeace tested positive for
PFCs. Louis Vuitton said both had lower concentration levels than international
However, Louis Vuitton said it shared
Greenpeace's concerns as it recognised "the intrinsic hazardous
properties" of the chemicals used in the industry and said it was working
hard to exceed current environmental standards.
Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Dior
and Marc Jacobs were not immediately available to comment.
An industry consultant privately criticised
the Greenpeace campaign, but declined to speak publicly.
chemical in most people
Some big brands have become highly
sensitive to scrutiny of their environmental standards as shoppers demand more
information about how products are made, with companies like H&M and Adidas
keen to portray themselves as "green".
They are among two of the 20 brands
Greenpeace has already persuaded to make the "Detox" pledge, helped
by supporters bombarding the firms via social media. The only luxury names to
sign up so far are Britain's Burberry and Italy's Valentino.
time these luxury brands lived up to their reputation'
Greenpeace said many of the products in its
study were labelled as "Made in Italy", usually a by-word for
quality, but still contained similar chemical residues to garments made in
"It's time these luxury brands lived
up to their reputation as fashion trendsetters, and started leading the
toxic-free fashion revolution," said Chiara Campione, a campaigner for
Many clothing retailers have already agreed
to make their clothing PFC-free but some outdoor brands have said there are
currently no PFC-free technologies that would provide the same lasting level of
weather protection. (Additional reporting by Isla Binnie in Milan and Astrid
Wendlandt in Paris; Editing by Anthony Barker and Erica Billingham)
Picture: Clothes and shoes from Shutterstock
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