Expert warning – high levels of chemicals in clothes by some fast-fashion retailers

A recent Marketplace – Canada’s consumer watchdog-  research in Canada found that out of 38 samples of children’s, adult’s and maternity clothes and accessories, one in five items contained high levels of chemicals — including lead, PFAS and phthalates. The lab testing has been supervised by Miriam Diamond, an environmental chemist and professor at the University of Toronto.

Lead for instance, can cause damaging health effects to the brain, heart, kidneys and reproductive system. Children and pregnant people are more vulnerable, and infants and children are the most at risk, according to Health Canada’s website. It is a naturally occurring element that can be found throughout the environment.

However, according to Joël Mertens – a product environmental impacts expert at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, there were products that were intentionally using lead and deliberately using it in a way that was well above what should be considered responsible  — or even safe. He explained that lead can be used in textile dye pigments, but there are safer alternatives that can achieve the same results.