@BFM in July 2018 highlighted the latest report of the @Anses on the risks of allergies and skin irritations in shoes and textile products. The Anses was mandated by the public authorities in response to the many cases observed in France. The study confirms the existence of substances such as enzidine, chromium VI, nickel, 4-tertbutylphenolformaldehyde resin, azo dyes….
Unfortunately, this is not a discovery. Many studies have demonstrated the risks associated with certain substances identified as carcinogens used to dye clothing. In 2012, @Greenpeace was pinning big brands on the use of toxic products in their clothes. In 2017, @ASEF also denounced this situation.
The REACH regulation came into force in 2007 with the aim of standardizing the use of chemicals on a European scale in order to protect consumers. This is a minimum standard to which all products sold in Europe must comply. This standard does not guarantee that a garment is not harmful. We are of course far from the GOTS standard for the certification of organic textiles. But this is a step in the right direction.
It must be noted that even today many companies still do not comply with this regulation and therefore neither its producers nor its customers. In reality, most retailers do not know how their clothes are made. Some protect themselves behind unbalanced contracts. But this does not eliminate the risks when working with suppliers in countries where the contract has very little application and when demanding ever lower prices.
Real solutions are on the table
Faced with this, many companies are looking to change their model and switch to sustainable solutions that respect the environment, producers, workers and their customers. Some of them ask us how to do it. Starting a CSR approach means first and foremost focusing on the product.
It is true that switching all of its collections to sustainable channels requires high standards, knowledge and a progressive deployment plan based on purchasing volumes.
The solutions exist. We have been implementing them for 15 years and we founded GOOD FABRIC to benefit our customers, whether they are retail or fashion players. It is possible to grow cotton without GMOs and pesticides. It is possible to dye a garment without heavy metals.
Our production processes are GOTS certified from start to finish (from the field to our company in France) and thus comply with the organic certification standards for cotton, for example. This GOTS certification, provided it is respected throughout the industrial chain, guarantees that the garments are not harmful.
The observation is therefore made about the health risks of wearing certain clothes. It is up to the consumer to make the right choices. It is up to brands and companies to implement best practices with their suppliers to protect the health of their customers.