London - Most conscious shoppers already know that the manufacturing of fur is both cruel to the animals being abused and slaughtered for their skins and more harmful to the environment than its faux counterpart. However, a new study has unearthed another very troubling issue within the fur industry: the use of toxic, cancer inducing chemicals.
Issued by Dutch anti-fur organization Bont voor Dieren together with consumer program 'Kassa', the study tested six fur collars taken from children's wear jackets from brands such as Canada Goose, Woolrich, Nickelson and Airforce. The fur collars were tested at the Bremer Environmental Institute in Germany for potentially harmful chemical substances, as children are more sensitive to toxins than adults, which also pose a dangerous threat to their healthy development. Unsurprisingly to say, the results from the fur samples were shocking.
Fur collars on children's wear jackets found to contain carcinogens
Five out of the six fur trimmings tested, derived from both raccoon dogs and coyotes, contained formaldehyde - a carcinogen - at levels exceeding the safe amount for textiles coming in contact with human skin. In addition to containing potential cancer inducing chemicals, all six of the fur samples also contained high levels of nonylphenol ethoxylates, which disrupt the production of hormones as well as the development of reproductive organs and is prohibited for industrial use within the European Union.
"The levels of ethoxylates and formaldehyde are so high that concern about effects of exposure to these substances is justified," commented Jacob de Boer, professor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology at the Vrije University in the Netherlands. "The results deem it necessary to look closely at the standards for these products, or the implementation of an eventual ban on them."
Unfortunately, the recent study from Bont voor Dieren is not the first of its kind. In spite of several animals rights organizations across Europe, such as Anima, LAV and Four Paws publishing studies highlighting the dangerous use of chemicals , including carcinogens , within fur production, little has been done to counter it. "The results of this study do not lie," stressed Nicole van Gemert, director of Bont voor Dieren, an international partner of Fur Free Alliance.
UK government urged to ban use of toxic fur
"They show once again that fur production poses serious threat to the public health, and this time its about children's jackets! There have been several international studies which repeatedly show that fur and fur collars contain many toxic substances. And there have been far too few changes or improvements made. I hope that this report will lead to the government finally taking steps."
Following the publication of Bont voor Dieren study, animal rights organization PETA issued a letter to Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, imploring her to take action by banning the sale of the material. "Because the fur trim on the jackets comes into direct contact with the face and because children are far more sensitive to harmful chemicals than adults are, it is deeply concerning that these chemicals may be absorbed into the bloodstream of a child’s still-developing body," commented PETA campaign coordinator Kirsty Henderson.
"In addition to causing the suffering and deaths of the millions of animals who are trapped, gassed, poisoned, drowned or electrocuted every year for the cruel fur trade, the toxic cocktail of hazardous chemicals used in the production and processing of furs to stop them from decomposing poses a very real threat to the health of those who wear them."
Photos: PETA and Bont voor Dieren