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Denmark will ban clothing with ‘forever chemicals’




clothing on a rack

The Danish government is sending out a message about PFAS, a class of man-made substances known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not break down easily in nature.

[ Related: 2 ways of knowing if there are PFAS in your drinking water ]

Denmark Ministry of the Environment said it plans to ban all clothing, shoes and waterproofing agents containing Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances, citing numerous health risks associated with the oil, water and stain repellents. Developed in the 1930s, PFAS was widely used in the United States1950s, which is found in everything from cars and carpets to food packaging and beauty products. Studies have linked PFAS to reproductive health problems, developmental delays in children, cancer and high cholesterol. EPA.

Denmark plans to implement its PFAS clothing ban on July 1, 2026, to provide companies with a “transition period,” the environmental regulator said in an April 25 announcement. The ban will cover both imported and Danish-made clothing, but will not affect ‘occupational’ or ‘safety’ clothing. Denmark had already banned PFAS the packaging of foodstuffs from 2020.

“The proposal for a ban will be subject to consultation,” the ministry said in a statement. “It will be possible for companies to register if there are special challenges that need to be taken into account.”

PFAS are especially common in clothing labeled as water and stain resistant, such as rain jackets And athletic wear. a Report 2022from the environmental organization Toxic-Free Future estimated that 72% of products with such labels contain PFAS. The same year, a study by the nonprofit American Chemical Society found significant concentrations of the chemicals in children’s school uniforms, CBS reports this.

The chemicals are still commonly used worldwide, but remain in the environment and accumulate in the food chain. Nowadays they can be found in fish, cattle, vegetablesAnd drinking water.

[ Related: 8 new types of ‘forever chemicals’ found in river linked to US cancer cluster ]

In the US, the agency banned some PFAS from food packaging and new PFAS-related introduced regulations for tap water earlier this month. At the time, the EPA said limiting exposure would prevent “thousands of premature deaths, tens of thousands of serious diseases, including certain cancers and liver and heart disease in adults, and immune and developmental effects in infants and children.”

The EPA’s website states that “research continues to determine how different levels of exposure to different PFAS may lead to a variety of health effects.”

Other countries have taken steps to ban the chemicals. New Zealand will ban its use in cosmetics from 2026, and five European countriesDenmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden introduced a proposal last year to eventually limit the use of PFAS across the European Union.