School uniforms in the United States and Canada have found significant concentrations of so-called “permanent chemicals” that may cause health problems such as asthma, obesity or infertility, according to a study in the American.
“Always chemicals” are substances that the body removes very slowly. The ingredients in question are called perfluorinated (PerFluoroAlkyl-PFAS) and are often used to make stain or water resistant clothing.
According to a study published in “Environmental Science and Technology Letters,” these products are found in greater abundance in uniforms made of 100% cotton, while synthetic materials are less prevalent.
Scientists say exposing children to its chemicals can increase the risk of long-term health problems.
However, the researchers said their study was small, based on 72 product samples, and it is not yet known whether the products entered the children’s bodies.
“But we know that perfluorides are dangerous to health, so the idea of kids in uniform, who might be releasing these substances, is a concern,” Dr Martha Venier of Indiana University explained to the BBC.
Perfluorines are found in textiles, food packaging or foam concentrates, foam in fire extinguishers. They are known for their non-stick and water-resistant properties.
These chemicals have long worried scientists because they do not break down under normal environmental conditions.
Perfluorins exist in the thousands and persist in soil and water. However, they also accumulate in the human body when consumed.
Scientists are drawing more attention to exposure, especially among young people, because their low weight poses a greater risk.
About 20% of children in Canada and the United States wear uniforms.