A study conducted by scientists from the UGR and the San Cecilio Clinical Hospital in Granada, Spain, has discovered traces of these two toxic chemicals in fabrics used in babywear. The hormonal activity of these chemicals can lead to serious illnesses.
Baby socks purchased at a bargain store were found to contain an amount of bisphenol A 25 times higher than in those of a low-cost international retailer and a higher-quality international brand.
A team of scientists from the University of Granada (UGR), the Biohealth Research Institute in Granada (ibs.GRANADA), the city’s San Cecilio Clinical Hospital, and the Centre for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP) has found that 9 out of 10 pairs of socks for babies and children from 0–4 years old contain traces of bisphenol A and parabens. The hormonal activities of these two endocrine disruptors have been linked to dysfunctions that can trigger illnesses in both children and adults.
This scientific study—the first of its kind to be conducted in Europe—reveals that fabrics can be a source of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemical pollutants. This is of particular concern in the case of exposure among very young children.
The researchers also discovered major differences in the amount of the toxic product detected, depending on the type of outlet selling the socks. Samples of 32 pairs of children’s socks (from new-borns to aged 48 months) were analysed, having been purchased in three different types of retail outlet, classified according to the price range of their products. The three types were: local bargain retailer (three pairs for €1.50–€1.80); low-cost, fast-fashion international retailer (three pairs for €3.00–€4.50); and a higher-quality international retail clothing brand (three pairs for €6.95–€7.95).
By using sophisticated analytical chemistry techniques and performing complex biological tests to quantify hormonal activity, the Granada-based researchers studied the presence of the plastic component bisphenol A, the preservatives known as parabens, and the hormonal activity (estrogenicity and androgenicity) of the sock extracts.
Local bargain retailer
The concentrations of the two chemicals found in the socks sold at the local bargain store in the sample reached a maximum of 3,736 ng of bisphenol A per gram of fabric. This average amount of bisphenol A was more than 25 times higher than that found in the socks sold by the low-cost international retailer and the higher-quality international brand.