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Replica Euro 2012 football shirts could be 'toxic'


Football fans forking out for shirts of their favourite Euro 2012 team could be risking their health, Europe's consumer watchdog has warned.

The shirts of tournament co-host Poland are so bad they should be banned, said BEUC, the umbrella group representing the EU's national consumer organisations.

Research into the chemicals used in official team strips in Poland, Spain, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Portugal, showed all nine national shirts contained "worrying" levels of chemicals.

Lead, a heavy metal, was found in the team strip of six of the countries - Spain, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, France and Italy.

In kits from Spain and Germany, lead exceeded the legal level for children's products and Portuguese and Dutch shirts also contained nickel.

A BEUC statement said: "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 the legal limit. Organotin can be toxic to the nervous system."

Another chemical, nonylphenol, which is banned from waste water because of its harmful effect on the environment, was found in Spain and Italy shirts.

BEUC director-general Monique Goyens said: "Football fans pay up to 90 euros (£73) 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."

BEUC is now calling for a forthcoming review of current EU chemicals legislation to be used to tighten controls against potentially harmful and toxic "chemical cocktails" in retail goods.

Ms Goyens said a plan to deal with "endocrine-disrupting chemicals" would be an opportunity for the EU to be on the offensive against harmful chemicals."