There’s no doubt in today’s world manufacturers need to be hyper vigilant in the way they track and document potentially harmful chemicals that may be present in their products. Being able to show evidence that you’ve complied with myriad regulations all the way down the supply chain is an essential part of meeting government standards, addressing watchdog concerns and developing trust amongst consumers.
This is particularly critical for retailers. When customers wear your product next to their skin you better be able to prove it’s safe.
This year’s Euro 2012 has been tainted by negative headlines regarding harmful chemicals found in soccer shirts worn by fans worldwide. And with the event attracting an audience of 4.3 billion globally, that’s a huge number of fans wearing team garb potentially exposed to harmful substances.
The European Consumer’s Organisation (BEUC)—a conglomerate of consumer rights bodies across Europe—tested various team shirts and found that each contained toxic chemicals including lead and nickel.
European soccer’s governing body UEFA pushed blame for the shirts squarely on manufacturers.
“If there is any problem with the shirts, then surely it is a problem for the kit manufacturers to address or each country’s national football association,” UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino told Reuters.
Kit manufactures say their shirts fully comply with EU and national legal requirements. PUMA, which submitted its official Italy shirt for independent testing, confirmed that its replica jersey is within all legal regulations and meets Restricted Substances List standards. Further, it found no traces of lead in its shirts.
“PUMA considers product and environmental safety as a core priority of its business practices. The company’s quality concept requires all products to be free of environmentally hazardous chemicals or harmful substances as defined by the Restricted Substances List which is updated on a frequent basis to ensure compliance to all relevant legislation and standards,” the company said in a press release issued last week.
Europe’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) legislation is currently being reviewed to include efforts to deal with ‘chemical cocktail’ effects and plans to deal with endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Euro 2012 goes until July 1, with the final match to be played in Kiev, Ukraine.
Ailbhe Coughlan was a contributor on this story.