Finding Chemo

Dirty Disney revealed by hazardous chemicals in children's clothes

Feature story - 15 April, 2004
Disney is famous for its lovable cartoon characters seen on our screens and in wide range of products found in homes worldwide. What isn't so famous is the fact that some of those products for babies and children contain toxic chemicals hazardous to human health and the environment.

Disney children's wear often contains toxic chemicals.

Recent tests have revealed that Disney clothes from 19 countries around the world contained toxic chemicals. These were mostly found in clothing with plastic prints using PVC(vinyl). Disney is renowned for the strict conditions it places on the use, appearance and colours of the characters used on the clothes, but does little to control the production processes of the clothing manufacturers it licenses the use of these characters to.

When previously asked about the presence of toxic chemicals, Disney responded that it's products were in full conformity with relevant legislation, and took no further action. The fact that Disney is able to get away with selling clothes containing polluting chemicals shows that current regulation of chemicals is ineffective. We are not going to let Disney get away with its polluting practices quietly.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse have climbed the UK headquarters of Disney to unveil a 'Disney: Stop Selling Toxic Pyjamas to Kids' message.

Greenpeace UK climbers dressed as the Disney characters ascended the building in Hammersmith, west London, to highlight Disney's irresponsibility. Disney staff arriving for work got a truly technicolour view of Mickey and Minnie in action and were also given leaflets explaining the potential damage their employers were wreaking upon children's health by continuing to sell toxic children's clothes.

"Given that this Mickey Mouse company has failed to do the right thing, it's pretty apt that Mickey Mouse himself was here to let Disney know that it's time to stop polluting children's bodies," said our campaigner Mark Strutt.

Read an update from the end of the action.

Despite being told six months ago that independent tests showed that Disney-branded pyjamas contain toxic chemicals that are harmful, the company has refused to remove the affected products from sale.

Update, 21 April - Illegal toxic Disney products withdrawn from sale in Denmark.

It seems Disney, which works so hard to promote its cute cuddly image, is perfectly happy to allow many parents to unwittingly clothe their children in products that contain nasty chemicals.

There are many alternatives to these chemicals and other more responsible companies are leading the way. Leading retailers, like clothes store H&M, uses alternative printing techniques for clothes that do not use PVC plastic.

The EU is currently debating much needed new laws to protect human health and the environment from toxic chemicals. Unfortunately the chemical industry, with help from certain governments like the US and Germany, has successfully lobbied for important parts of the law to be watered down or removed from the current draft. A key principle called substitution, which would require companies to use safer alternative to toxic chemicals by law, has been removed. If we cannot close this loophole companies like Disney will be at liberty to continue selling clothes containing chemicals that could harm children's health, even when safer alternatives exist.

Take Action!

You can help by pressuring Dirty Disney to come clean and if you live in Europe you can help counteract the industry lobbying by contacting your local member of the European parliament to tell them to help protect your health not industry profits.

Learn more:

More on Mickey and Minnie at the UK Disney HQ.

Visit The Chemical Home and find out more about the chemicals contained in your everday shopping.

Read the report with full details of the testing of the Disney clothes. View the appendix to the report with pictures of the Disney products that where tested in different countries.