So I was really alarmed when I saw an article from CNN with this headline:
A growing number of sports bras, shirts and leggings brands found with high levels of toxic chemical, watchdog warns
With all that I’ve read about the harms of BPA, coupled with the fact that I basically live in workout clothes, this article certainly caught my attention.
So what was found?
The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) is a nonprofit whose mission is to “protect people from toxic chemicals by working with communities, consumers, workers, government, and the private sector to demand and support business practices that are safe for public health and the environment.”
According to the CEH, an increasing number of sports bra and athletic wear brands have been found with high levels of BPA in them.
BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1950s. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA, and can seep into the skin through exposure to receipts. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of the possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. It can also affect children's behavior. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration published findings from “the largest study ever conducted to study the full range of potential health effects from exposure to BPA. This study along with many others confirmed that BPA is safe at the very low levels to which consumers are exposed.”
The state of California, however, went a step further and set the “safe” limit for BPA exposure at 3 micrograms/day.
Based on California’s levels, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) claims to have sent legal notices to eight brands whose leggings, shorts, sports bras, and athletic shirts after testing showed the clothing could expose wearers to up to 40 times the safe limit of BPA.
Which brands were affected?
The newly tested athletic wear brands and their products include leggings from Athleta, Champion, Kohl’s, Nike and Patagonia, sports bras from Sweaty Betty, athletic shirts from Fabletics and shorts from Adidas, Champion and Nike.
The group also tested athletic shirts from brands that included The North Face, Brooks, Mizuno, Athleta, New Balance, and Reebok and found similar results; as well as socks from over 100 different companies.
They are actively encouraging these companies to reformulate their clothing to remove exposure to BPA.
See the list of sock brands with high levels of BPA.
See the list of athletic shirts and sports bras with high levels of BPA.
What can you do?
To limit your exposure to BPAs found in some active wear, CEH recommends:
- To date, CEH’s investigations have only found BPA in polyester-based clothing with spandex. When buying socks avoid ones made from polyester with spandex.
- Look for socks made with mostly cotton, wool, or other natural fibers.
- Limit your exposure to BPA by removing your activewear and socks after your workout.
You can also take action:
Tell Fashion CEOs: Take the BPA Out of Socks
Tell Activewear CEOs: Take the BPA Out of Sports Bras and Athletic Shirts!