(WXYZ) — A consumer group is warning that some types of athletic wear could be hazardous to your health.
Eight sports bra brands and six athletic shirt brands were sent legal notices after testing showed clothing had high levels of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA).
The Center for Environmental Health, a nonprofit organization, claims testing revealed clothing had more than 20 times the safe limit of BPA, based on California standards.
The brands of sports bras include Athleta, PINK, Asics, The North Face, Brooks, All in Motion, Nike and FILA.
Athletic shirts that tested high include The North Face, Brooks, Mizuno, Athleta, New Balance and Reebok.
The high levels of BPA were found only in polyester-based clothing with spandex. Experts say the chemical used to make plastic can have adverse health effects, even at low levels.
“People are exposed to BPA through ingestion (e.g., from eating food or drinking water from containers that have leached BPA) or by absorption through skin (e.g., from handling receipt paper),” said Kaya Allan Sugerman, Illegal Toxic Threats Program director at CEH. “Studies have shown that BPA can be absorbed through skin and end up in the bloodstream after handling receipt paper for seconds or a few minutes at a time. Sports bras and athletic shirts are worn for hours at a time, and you are meant to sweat in them, so it is concerning to be finding such high levels of BPA in our clothing.”
CEH says defendants have 60 days to work with them on the violations before complaints are filed.
“The problem with BPA is it can mimic hormones like estrogen and block other hormone receptors, altering the concentration of hormones in our bodies, and resulting in negative health effects,” said Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva, science director at CEH. “Even low levels of exposure during pregnancy have been associated with a variety of health problems in offspring. These problems include abnormal development of the mammary glands and ovaries that can increase the likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer later in life. These effects occur even at low levels of exposure like those seen in people today.”
To help protect yourself, check the brand and tag to see what the clothing is made of, and change after your workout to reduce exposure.
Visit our sponsors
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad. It helps people move money quickly and easily between bank accounts in different countries. Convert 60+ currencies with ridiculously low fees - on average 7x cheaper than a bank. No hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever.