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October 20, 2022updated 21 Oct 2022 4:36pm

Nike, Reebok among brands slammed over BPA claims

BPA, a well-studied hormone disrupting chemical, mimics estrogen and can disrupt the normal functioning of the body, including metabolism, growth and development, and reproduction.

By Shemona Safaya

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) recently sent legal notices to eight renowned sports and athleisure wear brands after testing showed their clothes could expose individuals to up to 22 times the safe limit of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), according to California law.

The sports bra brands include Athleta, PINK, Asics, The North Face, Brooks, All in Motion, Nike, and FILA. While, the activewear shirt brands include The North Face, Brooks, Mizuno, Athleta, New Balance, and Reebok.

Kaya Allan Sugerman, illegal toxic threats program director at CEH, said: “People are exposed to BPA through ingestion (e.g., from eating food or drinking water from containers that have leached BPA) or by absorption through skin (e.g., from handling receipt paper).”

She added: “Studies have shown that BPA can be absorbed through skin and end up in the bloodstream after handling receipt paper for seconds or a few minutes at a time. Sports bras and athletic shirts are worn for hours at a time, and you are meant to sweat in them, so it is concerning to be finding such high levels of BPA in our clothing.”

To date, CEH’s investigations have found BPA in polyester-based clothing with spandex, including socks made for infants. Throughout the past year, CEH has pushed more than 90 companies to reformulate their products to remove all bisphenols including BPA, and some have already agreed to do so.

Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva, science director at CEH, stated the problem with BPA is that it can emulate hormones like oestrogen and block other hormone receptors, altering the concentration of hormones in our body and resulting in negative health effects.

Leiva said: “Even low levels of exposure during pregnancy have been associated with a variety of health problems in offspring. These problems include abnormal development of the mammary glands and ovaries that can increase the likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer later in life. These effects occur even at low levels of exposure like those seen in people today.”

According to CEH, defendants will have 60 days to work with the organisation to remedy the violations before CEH files a complaint to do so.

In an exclusive comment to Just Style, a representative from The North Face said, “Our commitment to product safety is uncompromising as is our compliance with all local, state and national laws regarding product safety. We are aware of the notice published by Center for Environmental Health and are investigating the allegations.”

None of the other brands had responded to Just Style’s request for comment at the time of going to press.

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