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Some yoga pants contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, report says

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  • PFAS, industrial compounds that linger in the body and environment, are linked to health risks like cancer.

  • Testing from consumer health blog Mamavation found PFAS in popular brands of yoga pants.

  • Exposure to PFAS in clothing may be low level, but it's not clear what the risks may be over time.

Some yoga pants contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, report says

Some popular brands of yoga pants and gym leggings may contain measurable amounts of substances linked to cancer and other health risks, according to testing done by consumer health activist blog Mamavation.

The blog's author, eco-influencer and social media strategist Leah Segedie, said she sent 32 pairs of activewear from a variety of brands to an EPA-certified laboratory to check for a class of industrial chemicals known as PFAS.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are used in manufacturing and can linger in the environment and the human body over time, prompting the nickname "forever chemicals." They are linked to health risks like kidney and testicular cancers.

Any amount in clothing should be avoided wherever possible, according to David Andrews, senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy and research organization specializing in toxins and corporate accountability

PFAS in clothing aren't regulated, and exposure through the skin is considered low-level, but the long-term health consequences are unclear.

LulaRoe, Lululemon, and Old Navy were among the brands that tested positive for PFAS

PFAS include a broad range of compounds; researchers often test for them by screening for a specific substance called fluorine.

The lab test ordered by Mamavation specifically tested for fluorine in the crotch area of the clothes.Products that were found to contain detectable levels of fluorine include a pair of pants from Lululemon, which contained 32 parts per million fluorine. Another Lululemon product did not test positive for fluorine.

The highest amount of fluorine, 284 parts per million, was found in a pair of leggings from LuLaRoe.

Fluorine was also detected in products from Athleta and Old Navy (17 parts per million each), both owned by Gap, Inc.

The brands mentioned did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

The full list can be found on the Mamavation website. The post was reviewed by environmental health researchers and partially funded by Environmental Health News.

PFAS are 'forever chemicals' linked to health issues, but it's not clear how risky skin contact may be

It's unclear how risky PFAS in clothing might be for health, but even small amounts should be avoided when possible, Andrews told Insider.

"It's very difficult to completely avoid exposure to the compounds," he said. "Unnecessary exposure through clothing is adding to the burden of exposure through numerous sources."

Low-level exposures, including in the household and through clothing, may accumulate and cause potential health issues, according to the EPA.


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