OAKLAND, Calif. (WTAJ) – The Center for Environmental Health sent legal notices to 11 brands manufacturing sports bras and athletic shirts after a study found they have high levels of bisphenol A (BPA) based on standards set in California.

The California-based watchdog group found that in the clothing, there is up to 22 times the safe limit of BPA, the chemical used to make plastic for food packaging, baby bottles and other goods.

The group described BPA as “a well-studied hormone-disrupting chemical.”

The following name brands face legal notices:

Sports bras:

  • Athleta
  • PINK
  • Asics
  • The North Face
  • Brooks
  • All in Motion
  • Nike
  • FILA

Athletic shirts:

  • The North Face
  • Brooks
  • Mizuno
  • Athleta
  • New Balance
  • Reebok

“People are exposed to BPA through ingestion (e.g., from eating food or drinking water from containers that have leached BPA) or by absorption through skin (e.g., from handling receipt paper),” Illegal Toxic Threats Program Director at CEH Kaya Allan Sugerman said. “Studies have shown that BPA can be absorbed through skin and end up in the bloodstream after handling receipt paper for seconds or a few minutes at a time. Sports bras and athletic shirts are worn for hours at a time, and you are meant to sweat in them, so it is concerning to be finding such high levels of BPA in our clothing.”

To date, the CEH reported its investigations have found BPA in polyester-based clothing with spandex, including socks made for infants. Through the past year, the CEH added that it has pushed more than 90 companies to reformulate their products to remove all bisphenols, including BPA.

“The problem with BPA is it can mimic hormones like estrogen and block other hormone receptors, altering the concentration of hormones in our bodies, and resulting in negative health effects,” Science Director at CEH Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva said. “Even low levels of exposure during pregnancy have been associated with a variety of health problems in offspring. These problems include abnormal development of the mammary glands and ovaries that can increase the likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer later in life. These effects occur even at low levels of exposure like those seen in people today.”

The 11 clothing brands will have 60 days to work with CEH to solve the violations before the CEH files a complaint to do so.

The CEH seeks to protect people from toxic chemicals by working with communities, consumers, workers, government and private sectors to demand and support business practices that are safe for public health and the environment.

For more information about CEH, visit its website at ceh.org.