This week all EU member states agreed to put a ban on the toxic chemical NPE from all textile imports, essentially closing the loophole that allowed dangerous levels of the hazardous chemical to enter the EU and our high streets.
NPE (or Nonylphenol Ethoxylates), are used in textile production as wetting agents, detergents and emulsifiers. The chemical stays inside the garment and is released when our clothing is washed, where at this point, the chemical is broken down into toxic nonylphenol, which disrupts hormones and is hazardous even in small quantities.
These issues were brought to the forefront by Greenpeace‘s report Dirty Laundry 2: Hung Out to Dry, which was released in 2011 – and it’s only now that actions have been put in place to prevent these toxic chemicals from seeping into our clothing.
In upcoming weeks, this ban will be adopted by the European Commission, which is expected to take effect within five years. These changes will have a direct effect on manufacturing countries that export to Europe, such as China, who could lose out on business if they don’t comply with the new legislation.
If you’d like to add your voice to the detox movement, you can sign the petition here.