The report also finds that these chemicals are likely to have a
far more significant effect on pre-natal and newly born children
than they do on adults, because of differences in patterns of
absorption, metabolism and excretion of chemicals.
The report launch coincides with the release of the results of
tests by independent scientists commissioned by Greenpeace (2). The
tests found the same hazardous chemicals in a sample of consumer
products including children's pyjamas, toys and baby feeding
bottles, as well as perfumes, paints, car interior cleaners and air
These chemical pollutants can be passed to the unborn child from
the mother and very young children can absorb substances in
products through their mouth and skin.
Among the products tested were:
* Children's pyjamas - 5 pairs of Disney branded pyjamas and 1
pair of Bob the Builder pyjamas:
Nonylphenol - thought to interfere with human DNA and affect
sperm production in mammals - were found in Disney branded pyjamas
as well as in a "Bob the Builder" garment from Mothercare. High
levels of the closely related nonylphenol ethoxylate were also
found in all garments tested.
All the children's garments also contained phthalates, which are
banned from teething toys under emergency EU legislation because
they can cause liver, kidney and testicular damage. The highest
levels of phthalates were found in Disney "Tigger" pyjamas.
* Chad Valley ducks: Very high levels of nonylphenol and
pthaltates were also found in a Chad Valley bath duck bought from
* A Toys-R-Us baby feeding bottle contained Bisphenol-A which
has been shown to cause genetic damage in mice and is known to
* Tests on perfumes, air fresheners, cleaning products and
paints also found toxic organotins and artificial musk
The findings come a week before the European Commission will
present new legislation to Parliament that aims to bring greater
protection to consumers from the uncontrolled use of chemicals (3).
However, loopholes in the regulation mean chemicals that can build
up in the human body and damage health - the kind of chemicals
found in the study - may be unaffected by the new rules.
Greenpeace Campaigner Mark Strutt said, "On behalf of every
parent, Greenpeace demands the new law on chemicals will make sure
that hazardous chemicals that get into children's bodies are phased
out and replaced with safer substitutes".
He added, "Replacing these chemicals with safer alternatives
will benefit everybody. It's time for the chemical industry to stop
polluting children's bodies."
Notes to editors
(1) The new Greenpeace report
'Chemical legacy - contamination of the child' is also
(2) The tests were commissioned by Greenpeace and undertaken by
TNO Laboratory in the Netherlands.
Full results are available online
(3) The REACH legislation (Registration, Evaluation and
Authorisation of Chemicals) is expected to be published on October
29th. It will then be considered by the European parliament and
should become law in 2005.
Other related Greenpeace toxics reports
available online are:
* Human Impacts of manmade chemicals - an overview.
Safer Chemicals within Reach - using the substitution principle
to drive green chemistry.
Consuming chemicals - levels of chemicals in house dust as an
indicator of human exposure.