Report on Non-Toxic Yoga Pants Finds Not All Leggings Are Safe

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Many people are looking for eco friendly yoga pants because they want to do their part in preserving the environment. Yoga pants made from organic materials are a great way to reduce your environmental impact. Organic yoga pants are not only eco-friendly, but they also have many other benefits.

A recent investigation report published on Mamavation blog shares another reason why organic are a better option for sportswear. Mamavation, an environmental wellness blog and community, investigated dozens of pairs of yoga pants and found that 25% of the legging and yoga pants tested had detectable levels of fluorine, an indicator of toxic PFAS.

Most organic yoga pants are made with natural materials that breathe well and allow your skin to breathe. This keeps you cool and comfortable during your workout. They also wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and free of bacteria.

The wicking away moisture is where PFAS chemicals are introduced into the source material.

According to the CDC, the per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFAS are known in various industries as the “forever chemicals”. They were invented in the 1950s. PFAS are blended into a variety of materials and textiles to create a protective sealant or resistant layer.

These chemicals are used by outdoor and apparel brands to ensure that your jacket keeps you dry, and your shoes do not get dirty. In the case of yoga pants and leggings they primary are used to increase the wicking away of moisture and sweat away from the body.

The unanwered question is that we do not know how problematic dermal exposure to PFAS is when wearing yoga pants treated with these PFAS chemicals.  The article lists twelve (12) known health problems associated with PFAS exposure.

“While we know that PFAS can be absorbed through the skin we don’t have much information about how much would be transferred from activewear products. It’s unlikely to be 0, ” says Pete Myers, Chief Scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, and Co-Author of Our Stolen Future.

In addition to not having precise data on how much is transferred through the skin when wearing these legging even just sitting at home, no one knows which brands are exposing their customers to these chemicals via their exercise clothing.

Mamavation’s investigation examined 32 pairs of activewear, mostly workout leggings and yoga pants, and sent them to an EPA-certified lab to test for organic fluorine, which is an indicator of PFAS.

The results of the report is as follows:

The laboratory results on the tested yoga pants and brands are summarized below:

  • The crotch area is the most common area to find detectable organic fluorine, which is a marker for PFAS, including inside the crotch of LulaRoe leggings, which we found at 284 parts per million (ppm)!
  • 25% of the workout leggings, yoga pants, & leisure leggings we sent to the lab came back with detectable levels of organic fluorine, and here’s the good news– 75% of the pairs we tested did not contain any detectable levels.
  • Detectable levels we found ranged from 10 parts per million (ppm) all the way to 284 parts per million (ppm) organic fluorine.
  • Because most brands are able to produce leggings without the use of PFAS, this tells us it’s not essential as a chemical treatment in women’s leggings and should be immediately phased out.

They also named the specific brands and recommended that consumers had other options that

“Our EPA-certified lab detected organic fluorine in the following products, listed below. We recommend you choose other products.

Athleta Girl Chit Chat Shorts — 17 parts per million (ppm) organic fluorine

Gaiam High Rise Waist Yoga Pants Performance Compression Workout Leggings — 15 parts per million (ppm) organic fluorine

Knix Hightouch High Rise Leggings — 19 parts per million (ppm) organic fluorine

Lululemon Align Highrise Pant — 32 parts per million (ppm) total fluorine. (Lululemon Align High Rise Short with Pockets 8″ was non-detect.) We’ve decided to place this brand here because we detected fluorine in the first pair.

LulaRoe Leggings — 284 parts per million (ppm) organic fluorine

Old Navy Athletic Pants — 17 parts per million (ppm) organic fluorine

Vuori Elevation Performance Black Camo Athletic Leggings — 23 parts per million (ppm) organic fluorine

Yogalicious “Lux” High Waist Side Pocket Capri — 10 parts per million (ppm) organic fluorine”

Another aspect the investigation addressed was this may not have been introduced to the material deliberately. Since the machines that produce this sportswear require oil and other forms of lubrication, the presence on the clothing might have come off the machine and onto the fabric. There is no way to know from testing alone how the chemicals came into contact with the clothing.

The folks here at Sass Yoga Pants felt this information merits amplification stemming from public safety concerns. Currently there are no laws that require clothing manufacturers to identify or provide the type of testing that would make the presence known to consumers prior to purchase.

So how can you protect yourself from unnecessary exposure to petro-chemicals when there are no labels and you don’t want to have to send your new yoga pants to a testing lab?

According to recommendations from Mamavation, they say that there are more safe options whether you’re seeking for the best yoga pants or leisure leggings. Whether you’re doing hot yoga or a gentle yoga session in your favorite studio or at home, your favorite pair of yoga leggings will hug your body. The best piece of advise is to examine products for “buttery soft” synthetic materials derived from petrochemicals. The crotch area of LulaRoe, a brand famed for being “buttery soft,” got findings as high as 284 parts per million (ppm). So if you want to make a safer purchase, stick to natural textiles like cotton.

We highly recommend that if you are looking for organic and environmentally safe yoga pants and leggings that you reference this investigation’s findings and recommendations.

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