ÖkoTest: Kid’s soccer shirts contain dangerous substances

In its 12/2010 issue, the German consumer magazine ÖkoTest tested toys and other presents for kids regarding health & safety risks. The results show that most products are not recommendable from a health perspective. I found most disturbing the results regarding the soccer shirts of the 20 “Bundesliga” clubs, which are produced by Adidas, Puma, Nike etc. and which cost between 40 and 55 Euros. Of the 20 shirts tested, only two were given the mark “good” or “2” (out of 6), one a “3”, two a “4” – and 15 (!) a “5” or “6” (i.e. “not passed”) (see picture by ÖkoTest). Basically the message is: Stay away from such x-mas presents, if your kid is not a Nurnberg or a Hannover fan, because all other shirts contain dangerous substances that might harm your kids (e.g. phosphor-organic or halogenorganic substances, optical brightener, phtalates etc.).

What makes these results particularly shocking is that you can quite easily test these substances in the end product – at least compared to social standards. However, as ÖkoTest argues, the companies were apparently not much interested in doing this sufficiently. One problem is that the substances usually come from the prints or from other colourful or plastic (club) applications, and their addition seems to be outsourced after the company sells the shirt. So basically, the firms do not manage to control their downstream supply chain sufficiently.

This would explain, why shirts by Adidas were tested as “2” (FC Nürnbert), “3” (Schalke), “4” (HSV) and “6” (Leverkusen and some others) – and it would also explain that last years’ top shots (Freiburg) are now bad – and vice versa – which is connected to changes in the subcontractors, who apply these labels.

ÖkoTest did not, however, test social or environmental standards, maybe because you cannot as easily prove the compliance to such standards. But if you can proof dangerous substances in the final product, the production process was surely not healthy. I am not sure whether there are any organic soccer shirts, maybe that existed in the 1970s.

Talking of kids’ shirts, there is a nice satire on GAP’s product line “For kids by kids”:



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