Golf Magazine

How Do They Get Away with It?

By Golfrefugees

This is our 2013 men’s ‘leaded polo shirt’.
Those very helpful scientists at The European Consumer Organisation this summer published a report stating the vast majority of sports shirts tested contained highly toxic lead. This published report also recognised scientists are unable to agree upon a safe level for lead in consumer goods. Lead is a highly toxic metal that is responsible for causing serious health issues during the decades it has been popularly used all over the world, predominately as a fuel additive. In 1996 a decision was taken on health grounds to completely ban leaded petrol. Leaded petrol is not only banned but illegal to sell in many parts of the world. Which begs the question why in 2012, lead is still used in sports apparel?

Are leading sportswear brands; Nike, Adidas, and Puma running scared, hiding behind a wall of silence?

Another report with regard to the Horizon oil spill disaster asked ‘how can 2 million gallons of dispersal chemicals poured on top of an oil slick be a good idea?
To all who understood the chemistry of what was being attempted looked on with reservations? The results of the grand experiment are still coming in as scientists continue to evaluate the health of the Gulf ecosystem in wake of the disaster. Initial tests conducted by the Georgia Institute of technology concluded the approved oil-dispersant mixture to be 52 times more toxic than oil alone. There is currently no requirement to test and compare the toxicity levels of combined mixtures prior to individual chemicals being approved for use.
What the heck has all this got to do with sports apparel? Well, sports apparel is predominantly made using polyester, which is derived from petroleum. A cocktail of addition chemicals are then applied to polyester to make a moisture-wicking anti-bacterial fabric. Golf Refugees research found a leading moisture-wicking-textile-finish included the very same chemical used to disperse the Horizon oil spill disaster. When asked what the purpose for this toxic chemical is for sports wear; ‘it helps to remove stains’. Perhaps they still had a few million gallons of dispersant chemicals lying around and rather than wait for next major oil spill, the chemical industry decided to look for an alternative market. And what better than the millions of petroleum derived sports shirts where non disclosure of chemicals is the accepted practice. Kerching.

The similarities are uncanny. You have a cocktail of chemicals, untested, unregulated in your sports apparel. During manufacture the residue from these chemicals are simply washed away into local rivers, causing widespread pollution. Sportswear brands are creating a chemical pollution disaster.
And let’s not forget the European Consumer Organisation extracted toxic chemicals including lead from sports shirts via a sweat solution. Every time you sweat inside your sports shirt your skin interacts with a cocktail of untested chemicals. How do they get away with it?
Do consumers want to know which toxic chemicals their skin is interacting with?

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