NEW YORK, June 18 — New European research has found that nine out of ten baby socks being sold for infants under the age of four could contain traces of bisphenol A and parabens, two endocrine disruptors which interfere with the body’s hormones and have been linked to illness in both children and adults.
Carried out by scientists in Granada, Spain, including researchers at the University of Granada (UGR), the new study tested 32 pairs of children’s socks being sold for children age 0-48 months and classified them into three groups according to the price point of the store.
These three groups were: local bargain retailer including three pairs of socks priced at €1.50 to €1.80 (RM7.03 to RM8.44); low-cost, fast-fashion international retailer, including three pairs at €3.00 to €4.50; and a higher-quality international retail clothing brand, including three pairs for €6.95 to €7.95.
The researchers then used sophisticated techniques and biological tests to measure the presence of bisphenol A and parabens and the hormonal activity of the sock samples.
The findings, published in the journal Environmental International, showed that there were big differences in the amount of bisphenol A found in the socks, depending on the type of store selling them.
The socks purchased from the local bargain store showed a maximum of 3,736 ng of bisphenol A per gram of fabric, an amount more than 25 times higher than that found in the socks sold by the low-cost international retailer and the higher-quality international brand.
The team found parabens in all of the socks, regardless of where they were bought, although on average the levels were lower than the levels of bisphenol A and did not vary as much between stores.
As the researchers expected, considering the high bisphenol A content and the fact that parabens were also present, two out of every ten pairs of socks from the bargain retailer showed estrogenic hormonal activity, meaning that the extracts taken from the socks behaved like the female hormone, and one out of every three pairs bought at the bargain retailer showed anti-androgenic activity, meaning the extracts interfered with male hormones.
This study is the first of its kind to be conducted in Europe and suggests that fabrics could expose us to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which is of particular concern for very young children.
The researchers also point out that babies could be exposed via the socks due to how often they suck their feet, which could lead to the chemical entering the digestive tract.
Endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol A and parabens have been previously linked with a wide range of illnesses including attention deficits and hyperactivity and obesity in children, and infertility, diabetes, and hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer, in adults. — AFP-Relaxnews