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California Proposition 65 Notices for BPA in Sports Bras and Athletic Shirts, and for PFOA/PFOS in Textile Products

SafeGuardSSoftlinesNovember 03, 2022

SG 124.22

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) tested a variety of textile products and found BPA and PFOS/PFOA. None of these products provided Proposition 65 warning labels.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) recently sent legal notices to several sports apparel brands for allegedly selling women’s sports bras and athletic shirts that contain Bisphenol A (BPA). CEH test results showed these items of clothing could expose wearers to up to 22 times the safe harbor limit of BPA under the California Proposition 65 (Prop 65). The maximum allowable dose level for BPA via skin exposure is three micrograms per day. According to the investigations, the detected BPA was found only in polyester-based clothing containing spandex.

BPA is listed on the Prop 65 List as a reproductive and developmental toxicant. Individuals may be exposed to BPA through ingestion or by absorption through their skin. When people wear sports bras and athletic shirts for hours at a time, sweating, the presence of high levels of BPA is concerning. The CEH asked sports apparel brands to reformulate products to remove all bisphenols, including BPA, and to recommend that wearers limit the time spent in activewear by changing after their workout.

Besides BPA, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including PFOS and PFOA, are increasingly targets of consumer class actions. There is a wave of Prop 65 enforcement actions targeting textile products containing PFAS, following the newly passed California bill AB 1817[1], which generally prohibits the manufacture, distribution and sale of textiles containing intentionally added PFAS by 2025.

PFAS are commonly used in textile products for apparel, footwear, bedding, draperies, and upholstery, to provide water, grease or stain repellent or resistant properties. It is now an increasing focus of public health and environmental agencies due to their alleged risk to human health and the fact that they can be highly persistent in the environment. In the past two months alone, eight notices of violation have been filed against companies for alleged exposure to PFOS or PFOA from products like bibs, bath pillows, jackets, golf umbrellas, fabric shower liners, crib mattress pads and tablecloths.

Under California Prop 65, businesses are required to provide warnings to consumers about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

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Consumer and Retail — Softlines
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