Test: Fluorinated substances in most mittens for children

6. jan 2016

In 8 out of 11 mittens for children The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals have found content of fluorinated substances which are suspected of having endocrine disrupting effects. The company Bestseller receives praise for reacting quickly on the test results.

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Mittens for children
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

The mittens have probably been in use several times this winter, when the children keep warm while playing outside in the winter cold. Children are in close contact with the mittens which consequently should not contain substances that are suspected to be endocrine disrupting.

However, a laboratory test from The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals shows that 8 out of 11 mittens tested contained problematic fluorinated substances in the fabric or in the grip material. Furthermore there were findings of the substance Nonylphenol Ethoxylate in quantities above the upcoming limit value in the EU. Both groups of substances are suspected of having endocrine disrupting effects and are harmful to the environment.

“Fluorinated substances are unwanted in the environment and in our bodies because they are suspected to be carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting. It is unacceptable that the majority of the tested mittens contain these problematic substances. We do not claim that the single glove is dangerous, but fluorinated substances are problematic and are found in many other products too, and therefore children shouldn’t be exposed to the substances in mittens if it can be avoided,” says Stine Müller, project manager in The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

Praise to Bestseller for quick response

Even though the mittens from Bestseller ‘Nitmilla mitten girl’ received a poor assessment in the test, there is praise to the Danish company. Bestseller reacted quickly after the finding of fluorinated substances in the mittens and voluntarily sent out a recall to its customers, because the fluorinated substances violate the company’s own chemical policy.

“The product is legal to sell, but we have decided to make a voluntary recall of the product because content of long-chained fluorinated substances is against our guidelines. Naturally we are in a dialogue with the supplier in question who has to identify how the error has occurred and make sure that it will not happen again,” says Mogens Werge, Head of CSR and communication in Bestseller.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals applauds that initiative from the clothing company.

“It is very positive when the companies raise the bar – higher than the legislation – and take initiative to phase out substances which we know can be problematic for the health. We hope to see much more of this in the future,” says Stine Müller.

The ombudsman asked about one set of mittens

None of the tested mittens are illegal, which most of the companies refer to when asked by The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

However, the results of one set of mittens from the company Reima have been sent to the Danish Consumer Ombudsman. The company markets their mittens as PFOA-free but still contained other fluorinated substances. The Consumer Ombudsman will now decide whether that is misleading marketing.

For further questions contact project manager in The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, Stine Müller, on (0045) 41 94 79 06 or sm@fbr.dk.