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Chemicals out of control

Governments and industry have failed tocontrol the spread of dangerous chemicals around the globe. Sowidespread are manmade hazardous chemicals in our environment, in ourhomes and in the products we use every day, that we are constantlyexposed to a cocktail of chemicals. As a result, even our own bodiesare contaminated.

Moda sin Toxicos

High fashion isn't normally known for being held in high regard amongenvironmentalists. But some big names and big brands in fashion havegotten together with us to put on a toxics-freefashion show. The clothes we wear, no matter how expensive,shouldn't cost the Earth.

In our environment:

It nowseems that no part of the planet is free from chemical contamination.Research shows that fish and whales caught hundreds of kms offshore,and in remote areas such as Alpine lakes and the polar regions, despitebeing far from any industry, are no longer pristine. Rainwater inEurope has been shown to be polluted with the hazardous chemicals thatare added to consumer products. A recent study has found that eels infreshwater ecosystems across Europe are contaminated, raising concernfor the impact on this once abundant species whose numbers now are inrapid decline.

In our homes:

Our testing hasfound that house dust in homes across Europe is contaminated withhazardous manmade chemicals. Chemicals that are added to ordinaryhousehold products (including carpets and other furnishings, electricaland electronic goods, toys and childcare articles, etc.) can bereleased over time, accumulating in the dust in our homes. Chemicals insuch products are rarely labelled and you probably don't realise theyare there. Bringing these chemicals via consumer products into ourhomes leads to a repeated and long-term exposure to low doses of thesecontaminants.

In our products:

Hazardouschemicals are intentionally added to consumer products that we useevery day. Electronics, toys, shampoos, perfumes, furniture, even babies' pyjamas, can all contain substances with the potential to harmhealth and development. We have tested a wide range of these productsfor hazardous chemicals. You can read the results of our testing anddiscover which brands contain the most toxic substances on our ChemicalHome website.

In our bodies:

Analyses ofumbilical cord blood have confirmed the presence of hazardous chemicalsin humans at the very start of life, indicating that chemicals releasedtoday could have profound consequences for the next generation. Thisproves that chemicals released into our environment may have an impacton future generations. No one knows how many man-made chemicalscontaminate our bodies but more than 100 is a conservative estimate. Sogreat is the number of chemicals all around us that we're constantlyexposed to multiple doses, the combined effect of which could beimpacting our health. This effect of chemicals in our bodies, includingin our blood, is largely unknown. There's particular concern about therisks to children and babies, since they are the most vulnerable, andbecause some of these hazardous chemicals are known to affect thedevelopment of babies inside the womb.


The European Union has approved a new chemical law to replaceregulation that is over 40 years old. But the new EU chemicalslegislation (REACH) is in critical condition. Read more analysis or a guide to how you can help strengthen the new law.

We are campaigning for solutions. We believe that politicians must takeaction and require companies to stop using hazardous chemicals and tosubstitute them with safer alternatives whenever and wherever possible.

The latest updates

 

Green Gadgets: Designing the Future

Publication | 3 September, 2014 at 2:30

Today, more and more people around the world rely on laptops, phones and tablets as an essential part of their everyday lives. However, the rate at which they purchase and discard these devices is having a serious impact on our planet.

A Red Card for sportswear brands

Publication | 19 May, 2014 at 10:00

This study follows on from several previous investigations published by Greenpeace as part of its Detox campaign, which identified that hazardous chemicals are present in textile and leather products as a result of their use during manufacture.

A Little Story about a Fashionable Lie

Publication | 17 February, 2014 at 7:00

A new investigation by Greenpeace International has found a broad range of hazardous chemicals in children's clothing and footwear produced by eight luxury fashion brands.

Toxic Threads: Polluting Paradise

Publication | 17 April, 2013 at 8:00

Greenpeace International has commissioned a new investigation that delves even further into the hazardous chemicals used in the production of high street fashion, going beyond previous investigations in China and Mexico. This latest report builds...

Toxic Threads: Under Wraps

Publication | 5 December, 2012 at 17:00

Exposing the textile industry's role in polluting Mexico's rivers.

Toxic Threads: Putting Pollution on Parade

Publication | 4 December, 2012 at 3:30

How textile manufacturers are hiding their toxic trail. A new investigation by Greenpeace International has found a wide range of hazardous substances in the effluent of communal wastewater treatment plants from two industrial zones in China, as...

Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up

Publication | 20 November, 2012 at 3:00

Greenpeace International has commissioned a new investigation that delves even further into the hazardous chemicals used in the production of high street fashion.

The Toxic Truth

Publication | 25 September, 2012 at 0:30

This is a story of corporate crime, human rights abuse and governments’ failure to protect people and the environment. A joint report by Amnesty International and Greenpeace Netherlands.

Dirty Laundry: Reloaded

Publication | 20 March, 2012 at 0:00

Water is essential for life, but it is also the world's most threatened essential resource. It is imperative that solutions are found to stop poisoning the precious resources we have left with hazardous chemicals.

Hidden Consequences

Publication | 25 May, 2011 at 8:00

Industrial pollution is a severe threat to water resources around the world, particularly in the Global South where the view prevails that pollution is the price to pay for progress.

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