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Chemical foul play in EURO 2012 football shirts

05 June 2012
by BEUC -- last modified 05 June 2012

In a few short 3 days, Europe's best football players kick-off the European football championship in jerseys containing harmful and toxic substances new findings by BEUC members reveal.


Having tested 9 official EURO 2012 shirts, all were found to have worrying levels of chemical content. Lead, a heavy metal, is found in 62 out of 9 tested shirts. In kits from Spain and Germany, lead exceeds recommended levels for children products. Ronaldo, van Persie and their teammates from Portugal and the Netherlands will play in shirts containing nickel. Host country Poland's shirt should be banned outright from shops as it contains an organotin compound (used to prevent sweat odour) in higher doses than legal limit. Organotin can be toxic to the nervous system. Nonylphenol – which can disrupt the endocrine system and is banned from wastewater because of its harmful effect on the environment – was found in Spain and Italy shirts.

Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, commented:

"Football fans pay up to €90 for the shirt of their favourite team. The least they should expect is to have a quality and safe product. It is inexplicable that heavy metals are used in mass consumer products. It is clearly foul play by manufacturers to use substances harmful to both people and the environment."

"Our members' test results are a sad reminder that Europe's chemicals legislation is unfit for the purpose of banning dangerous substances from consumer products. The upcoming review of REACH, Europe's chemicals legislation, efforts to deal with 'chemical cocktail' effects and plans to deal with endocrine disrupting chemicals give the EU ample opportunity to be on the offensive against harmful chemicals."

BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation has a membership of 42 well respected, independent national consumer organisations from 31 European countries (EU, EEA and applicant countries). BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for these organisations and our main task is to represent our members and defend the interests of all Europe's consumers.

BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation