: Toxic Fur

European Commission withdraws children’s wear with toxic fur

BRUSSELS, 1 MARCH 2016 – The European Commission has ordered the withdrawal from the market of children’s jackets with toxic fur collars. A Rapex procedure, a European rapid alert system for dangerous products, was issued after tests showed the fur collars on Blumarine Baby jackets contained high levels of hazardous chemicals. The alarming test results, of a research of Italian Fur Free Alliance members LAV, caused the Italian Minister of Health to withdraw children’s products of the brands Blumarine Baby and Christ in January this year.

Blumarine Baby toxic furThe Toxic Fur study of LAV found heavy chemicals as hexavalent chrome and formaldehyde in fur trims of children’s wear –  for babies aged less than 36 months – of renowned brands as D&G, Blumarine Baby and Woolrich. LAV called on the Italian ministry of health to have the investigated items withdrawn from the market and to ban fur from children’s wear.

In January, new research commissioned by the Dutch organisation Bont voor Dieren similarly showed high levels of carcinogenic toxics in children’s fashion of brands as Canada Goose, Nickelson and Airforce. The brands – tested by the German independent research laboratory Bremer Umweltinstitut – revealed high levels of formaldehyde and ethoxylates, which can cause allergies, cancer and hormonal imbalance.

Toxic FurTo prevent animal pelts from rotting, various hazardous and heavily polluting chemicals are used in the process. After processing pelts in order to conserve them, more toxics may be used to bleach or dye the fur. While industry and retail trade claim that fur is a particularly sustainable natural product, truth is that fur production is intensely polluting, energy-consumptive and an extremely unnatural process.

Read more about Toxic Fur HERE.

Baby fashion with toxic fur withdrawn from Italian market

ITALY, 28 JANUARY 2015 -The Italian Ministry of Health orders the withdrawal of clothing items from the market that contain toxic animal fur components. The withdrawal results from a new research by Italian Fur Free Alliance member LAV (Anti-Vivisection League) that shows high levels of hazardous chemicals in fur on children’s jackets posing a serious health threat. The Ministry of Health classified the tested baby products as ‘dangerous products’ and has ordered to withdraw a hooded jacket with a rabbit fur trim of the brand Blumarine Baby and a lamb fur baby blanket of the brand Christ. Earlier this month, new research commissioned by the Dutch organisation Bont voor Dieren similarly showed high levels of carcinogenic toxics in children’s fashion of brands as Canada Goose, Nickelson and Airforce.

The Ministry of Health came to its decision after a risk assessment made by the National Health Institute (Istituto Superiore della Sanità) and the subsequent complaint by LAV, as result of the Toxic Fur 2 research conducted by the Animalistic Association. Simone Pavesi, responsible for LAV Ethical Fashion, says:

“The Ministry of Health needs to acknowledge, since the Directorate General for Health Prevention has required these items to be withdrawn from the market, that fur production processes are rarely standardisable and so, each single fur item may contain toxic chemical and carcinogenic substances, used during the tanning phase. These concentrations are potentially hazardous for the consumer’s health, especially when the consumer is very young. A definite ban on the sales of of fur therefore justified, and both in the interest of citizens and risk groups.”

Blumarine Baby toxic furIndependent tests, conducted by the Carabinieri NAS (Ministerial Department of Food Safety), have revealed very high levels of hexavalent chromium for the Blumarine Baby item (respectively 37,3 mg/kg and 27,1mg/kg, against the maximum security level of 3 mg/kg in accordance with the EU Regulation 301/2014 ). Hexavalent chromium, besides being a carcinogenic substance, may cause allergic reactions (for ex. Contact eczema) in hypersusceptible individuals. Moreover, the Blumarine Baby item has a large concentration of trivalent chromium (absorbable through the sweat glands), 168mg/kg, while a maximum of 18mg/kg is recommended by ISS (National Health Institute) to avoid effects of skin sensitisers. Likewise in the lamb fur infant blanket of the brand Christ – which is distributed in Italy through the web site www.bellicomeilsole.it – a high level of 35mg/kg trivalent chromium (absorbable through the sweat glands) was found.

For items of the brands D&G and Woolrich, which were also tested as part of the Toxic Fur 2 research by LAV, the ministry was not able to carry out official tests due to unavailability of those items on site. The Toxic Fur 2 tests have revealed the following dangerous substances:
• WOOLRICH (child parka bimbo 24 months, with raccoon dog fur), code 07 8055683648348 WKCPS1746, trivalent chromium removable from sweat 86 mg/kg, formaldehyde 96 mg/kg.
• D&G (little girl coat 36 months, with rabbit fur), code 31 L51C23 FU2J5 S8292 MELANGE GREY, hexavalent chromium 3,5mg/kg, trivalent chromium (CR III) removable from sweat 219 mg/kg.

All measures of the Ministry of Health have been issued according to article 107 of the Legislative Decree 206/2005, defined as “Consumer Code”, regarding the fundamental right of health care for consumers. With the first Toxic Fur research, conducted in 2013, LAV  accomplished a temporary stop of sales of children items containing animal furs (of brands such as IL GUFO, BRUMS, MISS BLUMARINE, MINIFIX, GUCCI), that has resulted in a definite stop for some of them.

Read more about toxic fur here.

Fur on children’s wear full of toxics

AMSTERDAM, 12 JANUARY 2016 –  Fur trims on children’s jackets contain harmful levels of toxic chemicals posing a serious health risk. New research, commissioned by Dutch Fur Free Alliance member Bont voor Dieren, tested children’s wear of well known brands as Canada Goose, Versano, Woolrich, Nickelson and Airforce. All of the brands, that were tested by the German independent research laboratory Bremer Umweltinstitut, reveal high levels of formaldehyde and ethoxylates, which can cause allergies, cancer and hormonal imbalance.

Toxic FurTo prevent animal pelts from rotting, various hazardous and heavily polluting chemicals are used in the process. After processing pelts in order to conserve them, more toxics may be used to bleach or dye the fur. While industry and retail trade claim that fur is a particularly sustainable natural product, truth is that fur production is intensely polluting, energy-consumptive and an extremely unnatural process. Nicole van Gemert, director of Dutch animal protection organisation Bont voor Dieren, says:

These are very disturbing results. Again it is proven that common production processes for fur garments and accessories put human health at great risk, and we are talking about children’s wear! Extensive international research has revealed time and again that wearing fur contaminates the end consumer. Still no improvements have been made whatsoever. I hope this new report will call on the government to take the action that is needed.

Formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is usually taken in through the air or skin which may lead to irritation and allergies. In 2004 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) added formaldehyde to the list of agents that can cause cancer. Five out of six brands that were tested exceed the permissible levels of formaldehyde in textile products, as determined by the Dutch Commodities Act. The act requires products that exceed a level of formaldehyde of 120 mg/kg to come with a label that prescribes the item to be washed before use. After washing the level of formaldehyde should no longer exceed 120 mg/kg. None of the tested children’s jackets came with such a label.

According to the European Toy Safety Directive (2009/48/EC) toys made of textile are not allowed to exceed a level of 30 mg/kg of formaldehyde. All of the tested fur trims exceeded this level. A fur trim on a Canada Goose children’s jacket contains 240 mg/kg, a fur trim on an Airforce jacket 180 mg/kg and 260 mg/kg formaldehyde was found on a Versano fur trimmed jacket.

Toxic Furs

Hormonal imbalance
The test results showed high levels of ethoxylates in five out of six brands of children’s wear, largely exceeding the permissible levels. Ethoxylates behave like the hormonToxic Furse estrogen and cause disturbances to the human hormonal system. These chemicals are absorbed through skin and enter the body through blood. Ethoxylates can remain in the body for over twenty years, causing chronic health effects.

The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is an independent testing and certification system for textile products. Oeko-Tex Standard 100 aims to test for harmful substances by focusing on the actual use of the textile. The more intensive the skin contact of a product, the stricter the human ecological requirements to be met. The maximum allowable dose of ethoxylates, according to the Oeko-Tex Standard, of 100 mg/kg is exceeded by the brands Airforce, Versano, Nickelson and Canada Goose. Importers of products that exceed the dose of 1000 mg/kg are required to inform their costumers about the presence of the substance and the accompanying safety measures. This applies to fur trims of the brand Airforce. Jakob de Boer, toxicologist of the VU University of Amsterdam, adds:

The high levels of ethoxylates and formaldehyde are reason to be very concerned about the health impacts of wearing fur. These results call for a closer inspection of the permissible levels and possibly for a ban on these products.

Click here to view the test results of the German independent research laboratory Bremer Umweltinstitut.

The research report was presented on Dutch public television in the consumer affairs program Kassa, watch the full item (Dutch).

Previous results of extensive research conducted in Italy and Germany have shown the problem of toxic fur is widespread. Read more here.

Investigation reveals toxic fur

ITALY, 15 DECEMBER 2015 – Various toxic substances are detected in fur trims of children fashion wear by leading Italian animal rights organization LAV. LAV detected hazardous substances and possible carcinogenic agents in the fur trims that were researched in their second investigation on toxic fur. LAV, launches the TOXIC FUR 2 campaign to pay attention to the possible health threats caused by wearing fur trimmed jackets.

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Hexavalent chrome and formaldehyde were found in fur trims of children’s wear,  for babies aged less than 36 months and produced by the most renowned griffes: D&G, Blumarine Baby and Woolrich. LAV calls on the Italian ministry of health to have the investigated items withdrawn from the market and to ban fur from children’s wear.

-The processing of fur implies the use of chemicals classified as toxic and carcinogenic, and such substances, inevitably, may remain as residues even in the finished product placed on the market, that are worn by adults and children, with varying degrees of health hazard. Consumers can limit exposure to these hazardous substances by avoiding to wear and buy products containing even small parts in animal fur, says Simone Pavesi, head of LAV Fur-Free Campaign.

All the new samples of fur that were analysed in the investigation are intended for use by children aged less than 36 months.

The companies investigated in “Toxic Fur 2” are:

  • D&G (coat for children aged 36 months with rabbit fur trim)
  • BLUMARINE BABY (jacket for children aged 36 months with rabbit fur trim)
  • WOOLRICH (parka for children aged 24 months with raccoon dog fur trim)

Test reports show that the coat by D&G (for girls aged 36 months) is contaminated by the well-known CHROME VI (hexavalent), as well as by a large amount of CHROME III (trivalent), which may cause irritation; the jacket by BLUMARINE BABY (for girls aged 36 months) presents high values of CHROME III (trivalent), transferable by means of the sweat, and of FORMALDEHYDE; the jacket by WOOLRICH (baby aged 24 months) as well, reveals high levels of CHROME III (trivalent) and FORMALDEHYDE and it is also contaminated by high levels of NONYLPHENOL ETHOXYLATE. Other chemicals, such as some Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, were also detected.

The investigated garments were bought by LAV in October and November 2014, at the traditional distribution channels (stores and e-commerce). The components made by animal fur, present as edges of the above-mentioned items, were analysed by means of eco-toxicological tests, with the purpose of detecting the possible presence of residual chemicals, used in the stages of fur tanning and finishing.

LAV urges the Italian Ministry of Health to:

  • make an assessment of the hazards to the health of consumers (in this case children aged less than 36 months), with regard to the use of the tested products;
  • temporarily ban the sales of the tested products, as a precautionary measure, and promote specific investigations on other items still available for sale, according to the Consumer Code (Legislative Decree 206/2005);
  • ban the use of animal fur, at least in products intended for children.