Are your clothes dirty? That’s a questions I asked myself when I learned about the EU’s new ban on imports of clothes and textiles that contain nonylphenol ethoxylates, also known as NPEs. I’ve written quite a bit about fast fashion–as well as the push for supply chain transparency through #FashionRevolution, and supporting fashion recycling through the #ShopDropChallenge. But I never really knew much about the connection between fast fashion, NPEs and the environment. Until now.
According to Greenpeace, it’s been a decade since Europe banned the use of hormone-disrupting NPE in textile manufacturing. But because textiles–especially those used in fast fashion–are imported into the EU, it’s still being released into the environment through washing, where it accumulates in fish.
A 2011 Greenpeace study found NPE in 60% of the clothes that it tested, but as this ban phases in over the next five years, after expected adoption by the European Commission next month.
Now if we could just get that kind of regulation to take effect here!