Is Your Sports Bra and Athletic Shirt BPA-free?

CamelBak brand water bottles hang on display at an outdoor supply store on April 16, 2008 in Arcadia, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

A Chemical that can cause severe health problems is used in sports bras and athletic shirts named BPA, Bisphenol A, a consumer advocacy group claimed and sent legal notices to 11 brands manufacturing these products.

Center for Environmental Health (CEH), an advocacy group focused on the toxic chemicals in products reveals that more than 22 times the amount of BPA chemical is found in testing on bras and athletics shirts which does not follow the California Standards. Chemical is widely used in almost every industry, especially in making certain types of plastics.

CHE said their investigations have only found BPA in polyester-based clothing with spandex including socks made for infants. Companies have 60 days to respond before CHE files a formal complaint.

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Bisphenol A (BPA) in Bra.
Bisphenol A in bra

Some of the famous brands listed in sports bras are FILA, Nike, Brooks, All in Motion, Pink, Asics, The North Face, and Athleta. Reebok, The North Face, Mizuno, New Balance, Brooks, and Athleta represent the Shirt brands.

Response from brands on the claim of excess BPA presence in products :

Brooks, ” We have no reason to believe any of our products do not meet any health/safety standards, but out of an abundance of caution, we are working urgently to investigate these claims.”

A spokesperson from Brooks said that BPA is banned in Brooks products, and the company has stringent testing requirements for all their apparel.

The North Face, ” At the North Face, our commitment to product safety is uncompromising as is our compliance with all local, state, and national laws regarding product safety. We are aware of the notice published by the Center for Environmental Health and are investigating the allegation.”

BPA and its side effects :

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in industrial-level plastic manufacturing. The chemical is used to make some particular types of receipts. Most metal food and beverage cans have a tin interior coating that contains BPA.

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Kaya Allan Sugerman, a program director at CHE said in a statement,” Studies have shown that BPA can be absorbed through the 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.”

According to Dr. Jimena Diaz Leiva, science director at CHE, “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 adverse health effects. These effects occur even at low levels of exposure like those seen in people today.”

According to the associated press,” BPA is considered an endocrine disruptive chemical, which can cause adverse health effects by interfering with your own normal hormone systems, either by mimicking natural hormones or by altering their production or breakdown.

Some research has shown that the chemical can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Because of controversy surrounding BPA, more brands have started advertising their products as “BPA-Free.”

Although our governing bodies and regulators are keeping eye on a vast range of daily use of products and also provide us guidelines and awareness regarding the health issues and complications that can be produced by using these products, we the consumer should also follow the guidelines while using those products that contain toxic chemicals. And it’s our duty to spread awareness about those products and their usage which can cause severe health issues.

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