Toxic Metals In Soccer Uniforms

Are there toxic chemicals in the soccer apparel our children are wearing all year?

A worrisome report recently came out from the European Consumers’ Organization (BEUC) that found ‘worrying’ levels of chemicals in Euro 2012 replica team jerseys. High levels of lead, organotin compounds, nickel, and nonylphenol were found, in some cases so high the BEUC recommended the shirts be banned.

BEUC, Europe’s consumer watchdog have discovered that chemicals used in official team strips in Poland, Spain, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, France, Holland and Portugal, all produced by adidas, Nike and Puma, showed all nine national shirts contained “worrying” levels of chemicals.

In an embarrassing turn of events the shirts of tournament co-hosts Poland are so bad they should be banned, said BEUC, the umbrella group representing the EU’s national consumer organisations.

Lead, a heavy metal, was found in the team strip of six of the countries – Spain, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, France and Italy.

In kits from Spain and Germany, lead exceeded the legal level for children’s products and Portuguese and Dutch shirts also contained nickel.

‘Strips’ are what team uniforms are often called in the UK. Just because there are toxic chemicals in the replica jerseys does not mean they are present in the kits made for youth players, and there’s also the issue of leaching and can wearing such a jersey contaminate you. But it is a scary prospect all the same. Some of the chemicals clearly have a reasonable purpose – one of the chemicals was added to reduce sweat odor. But as a league administrator I would have never thought to ask our uniform supplier about the toxic chemical levels in our youth jerseys. Now I will (and our supplier uses vegetable dyes, so they were able to specify the jerseys were safe). I suspect when this reaches the US mainstream media, many youth sport suppliers are going to be inundated with phone calls from parents and leagues alike. Hopefully we’ll get some concrete information on what the materials contain and what the dangers are.

Yeah I laughed when I typed that.

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