Arnika revealed harmful substances in sports equipment


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About 10% of analyzed products purchased on the European market contained toxic substances. Even banned phthalates were found in 7 out of 82 samples. None of the retailers were able to correctly answer the request about the presence of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) in their products.  Either they did not fulfill their legal obligation at all or they relied on incorrect information from the manufacturers (1).

“Follow a few simple recommendations. Before buying a product, scan its barcode with the Scan4chem application, which should immediately inform you about the content of hazardous substances. If there is no information in the app, send the request for information about the SVHCs content to the retailers and producer. Additionally, try to look for ecolabels. Above all, don't buy smelly products, products made of soft plastic, especially PVC, or the cheapest goods made of black plastic,” advises Karolina Brabcova from Arnika, which participated in the tests.

The analyzed articles included gymnastic balls, yoga mats, dumbbells, skipping ropes, swimming utilities, water bottles, or shoes purchased in 13 European countries (2). In total, 82 samples were analysed in an independent German accredited laboratory for the Substances of Very High Concern, like phthalates, flame retardants, heavy metals, or alkyl phenols. 

The tests revealed hazardous substances in 10 out of 82 products. DEHP and DIBP softeners were found in 7 products. These phthalates have been banned in the European Union since last year because they disrupt the hormonal and reproductive system in humans. Products containing these substances above 0.1% cannot be placed on the European market since July 2020. But retailers can sell out their stocks. One product purchased in France contained short-chain chlorinated paraffins in concentration of 2.6%. These substances are banned worldwide in concentrations as low as 0.15% due to its harmto the environment as well as human health.

8 samples were purchased on the Czech market in sport retailer chains Decathlon, Intersport and Sportisimo. The overball bought at Sportisimo contained extremely high concentrations of banned DIBP phthalate, which the retailer have had manufactured in China. The RAVI yoga mat from LOAP contained a slightly increased concentration  of the ADCA allergen used in synthetic foam materials. After communicating the analysis results to the manufacturer, LOAP requested an explanation from the supplier and asked for ensuring better material quality. No harmful substances were found in other 6 products purchased on the Czech market.


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