Spurred on by the success of Greenpeace’s Detox Campaign, exposing the links between textile manufacturing facilities using toxic chemicals and water pollution, this new report further investigates 20 global fashion brands including Armani, Levi’s and Zara, and their use of hazardous chemicals
Now, I like Zara’s fashion and especially the way they fit. I also like Levi’s, Gap, Benetton, Calvin Klein style. Apart from being known for their good quality clothing and being the most popular brands today in the world of fast fashion, the clothes they sell also contain some good levels of toxicity…enough to be called harmful for the human body – so says the recent report by Greenpeace.
This report found high levels of toxic phthalates, cancer causing amines and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) in these brands – which is unacceptable. This will call for some work to be done by these brands.
But my first reaction is: So what if Zara’s or Benetton’s clothing is toxic! The air that I breathe in Delhi is way too much toxic to give me much more immediate negative health effects than my clothing…as if we never knew clothes aren’t already are!
C’mon, we got way too many other concerns with immediate implications than wearing so called toxic clothes.
Greenpeace is talking about high street fashion popular brands that are always in the public eye. Sooner or later, this exposure had to happen. But what about the cheap clothing that gets manufactured in India, Bangladesh and China – not for these brands but for local stores and local markets that adorn the cheap-street fashion worn by people who can’t afford branded clothing. You won’t even dare run tests on those cause you won’t have any tools calibrated to measure the kinds of levels of toxicity present in those!
The world produces more than 80 billion garments a year and they get discarded fairly quickly with the quick turnaround times to meet the seasonal demands of loyal consumers. This causes suppliers to resort to environmentally disruptive methods and to cut corners to meet those demands. The question to tackle is age-old: Who creates the demand? It’s but screaming obvious that marketers and companies create the demand and when that happens, they put it back on the naive consumer…saying that it is they who want new clothes every season! Aren’t we mature to know what’s the truth? But we want to ignore that and keep fulfilling our desires to be with times – the times that are actually created by companies to buy more. But companies won’t ask consumers to consume less, or will they? I doubt that time will ever come.
Anyhow, Greenpeace, in its report lays out 2 steps for the companies to ‘Detox our clothes”:
- Adopt a credible commitment to phase out the use of hazardous chemicals from the supply chains and products by 2020
- Walk the talk by commiting to disclose, at regular intervals, information on release of toxic chemicals used and establishing clear and ambitious deadlines for elimination of priority substances
To know more, access the full report here
- Calvin Klein, Zara Among Worst Chemical Users, Greenpeace Says (environmentalleader.com)
- Is Your Clothing Toxic? (motherjones.com)