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TÜV Rheinland Tests World Cup Fan Jerseys for Toxic Substances, North American T-Shirts Pass Tests

BOXBOROUGH, Mass. — June 11, 2014 — Just days before the kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, the first world champions have already been named. TÜV Rheinland, a global testing and certification organization, purchased a total of 90 fan t-shirt jerseys for all teams participating in the World Cup and tested them against the relevant European limits for toxic substances in textiles and for quality. The TÜV Rheinland “textile oracle” matched the jerseys against each other in a round robin–style tournament, followed by a knockout stage to determine the 2014 world champion.

The t-shirts were purchased both in the countries and online, with an average price of $20 per jersey. They came from markets and souvenir shops and are not official FIFA or German Football Association products or t-shirts from the jersey manufacturers. The 90 fan t-shirts were tested in TÜV Rheinland’s textile test laboratory in Istanbul, Turkey, for toxic substances and quality based on internationally recognized standards and test criteria. TÜV Rheinland used the European limit values as the benchmark for all products.

The “textile teams” competed against each other based on an initial draw in the group stage and subsequent games. A textile winner was chosen in each match. The TÜV Rheinland “textile oracle” used this method for each match right through to the final, with surprising and sometimes alarming results.

“Originally, we planned the campaign simply as an alternative oracle to predict the results and did not buy any cheap shirts,” said Frank Dudley, TÜV Rheinland spokesperson. “Nevertheless, the results of the test were alarming. Every third fan jersey is so full of toxic substances that it should not be sold at all according to the European regulations, and only every third t-shirt actually passed all of the tests.”

The laboratory tests established that more than 30% of the fan t-shirts exceeded the limit values for the toxic substances. 32 shirts exceeded the European limit for phthalates, which are plasticizers primarily used for prints on textiles. Plasticizers are suspected of acting like hormones and are therefore banned from use in textiles. They can easily be replaced with other substances.

Five t-shirts exceeded the European limit for cadmium. A heavy metal, cadmium can also prove hazardous in higher concentrations and can cause skin reactions. A fan jersey from Belgium even overstepped the European threshold for azo dyes. Certain azo dyes are carcinogenic and are banned from use in textiles.

In 25 of the shirts, the quality of workmanship was also inadequate. The t-shirts presented further problems after washing, with testers pointing out visual changes in 28 products.

Only 30 fan jerseys were free from toxic substances and passed all of the laboratory tests, including the North American t-shirts.

After the group stage, Mexico, Cameroon, Australia, Chile, Greece, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Switzerland, Honduras, Nigeria, Argentina, Ghana, Korea and Russia all had to pack their bags and watch the rest of the 2014 Textile World Cup from the sidelines. The TÜV Rheinland “textile oracle” predicted that the World Cup favorites Argentina and Germany would also be knocked out before the round of sixteen due to breaching the rules on permitted toxic substances.

The final match of the first Textile World Cup saw Portugal face off against Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the TÜV Rheinland “textile oracle”, Bosnia and Herzegovina were the victors with the best jersey.

Posted June 17, 2014

Source: TUV Rheinland