Environmental Health News reporter Kristina Marusic recently spoke about the links between pollution and mental health during a webinar for the Pittsburgh-based Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP).
One in four pairs of popular leggings and yoga pants tested have detectable levels of fluorine, an indicator of toxic PFAS, according to a new report from Mamavation.
Partnering with EHN.org, the environmental wellness blog and community Mamavation tested the activewear and found levels of fluorine ranging from 10 parts per million (ppm) up to 284 ppm in eight pairs of leggings and pants, out of 32 tested. EHN.org partially funded the testing and Pete Myers, chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, which publishes Environmental Health News, reviewed the findings.
While the testing doesn’t prove per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are in the products, fluorine is a strong indicator of the “forever chemicals”— which have been linked to everything from cancer to birth defects to lower vaccine effectiveness.
8 brands with PFAS indicators
The testing—done from the crotch area of the pants—was conducted by an EPA-certified lab and flagged any clothing that had more than 10 parts per million (ppm) fluorine.
The eight pairs that had PFAS indicators were:
Athleta Girl Chit Chat Shorts
Gaiam High Rise Waist Yoga Pants Performance Compression Workout Leggings
Knix Hightouch High Rise Leggings
Lululemon Align Highrise Pant
Old Navy Athletic Pants Vuori Elevation Performance Black Camo Athletic Leggings
“While we know that PFAS can be absorbed through the skin we don’t have much information about how much would be transferred from activewear products. It’s unlikely to be zero, ” Myers, chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, told Mamavation.
Experts told Mamavation it’s likely the chemicals are in the clothing as a treatment for stain- and water-resistance or sweat wicking; or due to contamination from lubricants or cleaning chemicals used during manufacturing.
Toxics-free workout wear
The good news? Well, 75% of the testing pants and leggings did not have any fluorine. Some of the fluorine-free brands that also have organic material include Groceries Apparel B12 Leggings, Mate The Label Organic Stretch Legging, and Pact Organic Go-To Pocket Legging.
Keep your eye on this space as EHN teams up with Mamavation in the next month for a three-part investigation on PFAS indicators in consumer goods—we’ll bring you bad actors, what brands to trust, and ways to have your voice your concern over contamination.