Research commissioned by Greenpeace International has revealed that clothing and certain fabric-based shoes sold internationally by major clothing brands are manufactured using nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). NPEs — which are used as surfactants in textile production — subsequently break down to form toxic nonylphenol (NP). Nonylphenol is a persistent chemical with hormone-disrupting properties that builds up in the food chain, and is hazardous even at very low levels.

The investigation involved the analysis of 78 articles of sports and recreational clothing and shoes bearing the logos of 15 leading clothing brands.

Greenpeace is calling on the brands and suppliers identified in this investigation, and our previous Dirty Laundry report, to become champions for a toxic-free future – by eliminating all releases of hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and their products.

Governments also have a crucial role to play. To this end, Greenpeace is calling on governments to work towards the elimination of all releases of hazardous chemicals by adopting a political commitment to ‘zero discharge’ of all hazardous chemicals within one generation, based on the precautionary principle and a preventative approach to chemicals management.

Dirty Laundry 2: Hung Out to Dry [PDF]