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CEH Finds 100+ Sock Brands with High Levels of BPA

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) sent legal notices to approximately 100 companies after extensive testing showed their socks made for babies, children, and adults could expose someone to up to 31 times the safe limit of the chemical BPA, according to California law. The companies include Adidas, Champion, GAP, Hanes, New Balance, and Reebok.

“Studies have shown that BPA can be absorbed through your skin and end up in the bloodstream after handling receipt paper for seconds or a few minutes at a time,” said Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva, Science Director at CEH. “Socks are worn for hours at a time, so it is concerning to be finding such high levels of BPA, particularly in those made for babies and children.”

Add Your Name: Tell Fashion CEOs to Take the BPA Out of Socks

Research has shown that early life exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals like BPA can increase the risk of infants developing a range of diseases during childhood and later in adulthood. Exposure to these chemicals during critical periods of development can increase the risk of adverse health outcomes (Braun 2016).

“BPA was originally designed as an estrogen,” said Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley. “Given the many adverse effects of exogenous estrogenic compounds, BPA should not be in our clothing, food packaging, or anything else that humans (or any animal for that matter) will come in contact with.”  

CEH tested socks with different blends of polyester, cotton, and spandex, and found BPA in the socks made predominantly from polyester with spandex. CEH has not found BPA in socks predominantly made from cotton.

Kaya Allan Sugerman, Illegal Toxic Threats Program Director at CEH said: “CEH uses California’s Proposition 65 as a tool to move companies to eliminate toxic chemicals from their products, and Prop 65 lists BPA as a chemical that harms the reproductive system. BPA is not a necessary ingredient in socks and manufacturers must immediately remove it.”

“BPA comes from Big Oil and the petrochemical industry,” said Michael Green, Founder of CEH. “Why are we digging up 500 million year old plants and animals, turning them into toxic chemicals, and adding them in our socks? Surely companies can make clothing like socks without toxic BPA.” 

To learn more about BPA in socks, read our FAQ here!

Brands with high levels of BPA:

A New Day

Adidas

Adrienne Vittadini

Aeropostale

Aerosoles

All in Motion

Angel of Mine

ArtMinds

Apara

Ashley Stewart

Asics

Bare Hugs

BCBGeneration

Betsey Johnson

Bioworld

Bon Domir

Brightstar

Capelli New York

Carhartt

Champion

Charlotte

Christian Siriano

Columbia

CSG (Champs Sports)

Danbar Global Stars & Dreamers

Danskin

Dickies

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Disney

DKNY

Dr. Scholl’s

Dolls Kill

Elite Collection

Ellen Tracy

ENVY

Easy Spirit

Everlast

FILA

Forever 21

Francesca’s

Fruit of the Loom

Gaiam

Gap

Gertex

G.H. Bass & Co.

Halston

Hanes

Hot Topic

Hurley

Jo-Ann Stores

Jefferies Socks

Jessica Simpson

Jones New York

Juicy Couture

K-Swiss

Legale

Lucky Brand

Marvel

Member’s Mark

MeMoi

Merry Brite

Mix No. 6 (DSW)

New Balance

Nickelodeon

No Boundaries

No Nonsense

Nordstrom

Okie Dokie

PacSun

PGA Tour

Pickle & Dot

PINK

Polo Ralph Lauren

Prince

Puma

Rampage

RBX

Reebok

Rene Rofe

Rising Star

Rite Aid

Rue 21

Saucony

Skechers

So Dorable

Sole Sayings

Spalding

Stance

Stepping Stones

Steve Madden

Spirit Halloween

Stride Rite

Tek Gear

Tic Tac Toe

Timberland

Tommy Hilfiger

Torrid

Treasure & Bond

TY

Urban Outfitters

West Loop (Walgreens)

Wonder Nation

Xhilaration

ZonePro

5 Style

Throughout 2022, CEH has reached legally-binding, court-enforceable agreements with some of the companies. We applaud those that have elected to reformulate their products to remove not only BPA, but all bisphenols, from their socks. 

  • Bioworld Merchandising, Inc. (purchased at Spirit Halloween) 
    • Atsuko (includes DragonBall Z and Naruto)
    • Dumb Good (includes brands such as Adventure Time, Cowboy BeBop, the Peanuts, Goosebumps, )
    • Graph (video-game/computer game brands such as Nintendo, Doom, Fallout 4, Playstation, Street Fighter and Assassins Creed)
    • Heroes & Villains (includes brands such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Dungeons & Dragons, Dark Horse and Star Trek).
  •  Hypnotic Hats, Ltd. (purchased at JCPenney) (effective May 29, 2023)
    • (e.g., Superman, Spider Man, Star Wars, Rugrats, etc.)

The following companies have agreed to reformulation, but legal agreements with them also allow for an option to warn the consumer (and not reformulate), should they choose to use it. We earnestly hope they do not avail themselves of this option to warn, but if you see warnings on these products, be advised that they may contain BPA, which is known to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm:

  • Zhejiang Yiheng Textile Technology Co., Ltd. (West Loop branded socks purchased at and supplied to Walgreens) 
  • Mad Engine, LLC (Disney branded socks purchased at CharlotteRusse.com)
  • F21 Opco, LLC (purchased at Forever 21)