We've seen internal documents from a well-known sportswear brand and decided to create a graphic based upon the ‘substances of very high concern’ they use to make brightly coloured polyester sports apparel.

Hopefully the fragmented graphic communicates the small amounts of hazardous substances contained in every shirt.



The above table was compiled after testing sports shirts from leading brands by the European consumer organisation in 2012.

There are some things about lead that are not in dispute:
1. that lead causes brain damage;
2. that the effect of lead exposure is the same whether it is ingested, absorbed or inhaled;
3. and for children, there is no safe level of lead in blood – any lead will cause some toxic effect.

Lead is just not good for human bodies. Howard Mielke, an expert in lead poisoning at Tulane University School of Medicine, noted that lead typically affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain — the section that controls decision-making and compulsive behaviour. Not surprisingly then, lead poisoning has been tied to everything from higher crime rates and lower test scores to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

And yet sports brands are still including lead in their brightly coloured apparel, where it is used as a component of dyes.

Existing EU REACH legislation on chemicals fails to prohibit the use of hazardous chemicals in consumer products. Brands are legally free to use as much lead and other chemicals as they wish. Chemically processed polyester textiles contribute to our overall exposure to chemicals from consumer products, as well as providing a more direct route of chemical exposure through contact with sweating skin

So my question is:  why would you subject yourself and your children to additional and unnecessary lead exposure from brightly coloured synthetic sports apparel?
Source: Beuc & OEcotextiles


With our spiral golf ball testing continuing, we are looking out for new graphical patterns and came across this pulsating gem. Would be tricky to pint and probably best to change the green to either yellow or orange, but we think it would make a great 'looking' golf ball. How about you?



Wearing particular colours might not just be good for your mental health but could also boost the body as it absorbs natural dyes, suggests work by a University
of Derby researcher.
Dr Kate Wells, Senior Lecturer in Textiles at the University Derby,is investigating whether garments dyed using traditional, natural colourings can directly improve physical wellbeing, as minute amounts are absorbed through the skin of the wearer.
Kate’s colour research is part of her larger body of work into ‘slow textiles’, focusing on sustainable and ethical production methods which produce unique clothing and garments. It points out that many of the plant extracts once commonly used to dye clothing – such as indigo and woad (blue), turmeric (yellow) and henna (red) – would also have been used in traditional medicines.
She is looking at the possibility that, by wearing naturally dyed cloth next to the skin, people might directly absorb health-improving extracts.
Kate said: “It’s an area that’s not really been studied before which is surprising given that a dye like indigo appears in many different countries and across cultures. It is extracted from different plants through a process that is steeped in myths, superstitions and religious rituals, and which evolved over centuries.
“Around the world indigo was extracted from a variety of plants. In Europe it was the flowering plant isatis tinctoria (woad), in India indigofera tinctoria (indigo), in China and Japan it was polygonum tinctorium (Japanese indigo, a type of knotweed), and in West Africa the vine Ionchocarpus cyanescens.
“With people’s interest now in handmade and sustainably made clothing, there is renewed interest in natural dyes. Woad is again being commercially farmed in England and to a greater extent in France, alongside other natural dyes.”

By Billy Hunter



Spiral golf ball field testing in sunny Colorado.






It is a paradox of the age that female athletes are forced to fight tooth and nail for media coverage when the objectification of women is routine. It surely follows that if the door to the market is opened so thoroughly by a female key then visibility should not be a problem.
The Ladies Golf Union, the body responsible for promoting and administering the women’s amateur game, has recently employed the services of a public-relations guru to crack this conundrum with a series of aggressive media initiatives, including the ramping up of social media activity. The goal is to get women on the fairways, those in lapsed middle age and youngsters for whom golf offers a rich accompaniment to their walk through life as well as the chance to become the next Inbee Park.  

A few days in the presence of the world’s elite female golfers would cure any TV executive of the idea that women’s sport is a hard sell. The women offer the same key elements as men: technical excellence, character expressed in the ruthless manner with which they pursue victory, tradition, and narrative. St Andrews, host to the Ricoh British Women’s Open, was awash with compelling tales last week, not least Park’s mesmeric charge across the major landscape.
That she was ultimately blown off course by 40mph winds whipping off the Eden estuary constituted personal disappointment but that is a central part of sport, too. At this level it is not supposed to be easy. Failure can be dramatic. Ask Rory McIlroy, who encountered epic torment at the Masters in 2011, squandering a four-stroke lead on the final day, only to bounce back to claim his first major at the US Open two months later. Three major titles on the spin is no failure, and Park’s stumble is next year’s Grand Slam opportunity for would-be history-makers.
The mistake often made in evaluating the measure of women’s sport is to compare the participants to men. Of course, women cannot hit a golf ball as far, cannot run the 100 metres as fast, swim through the water as quickly, jump as high, tackle as hard, etc. But, since they are not competing against men, that is an irrelevance. In the example of golf there is a handicapping instrument to equalise the ground, and the capacity to alter the length of holes through staggered tees.
Take the tee shot out of the equation, and women are in the game anyway. From 150 yards out the female in golf is as deadly as the male, even more lethal, perhaps, when the putter is in Park’s hands. But again, that is not the issue. Women do not want to be ranked or compared to men. The demand is to be considered in their own right, on their own terms.
From a British perspective at least one of the biggest storylines at last year’s Olympics was created by a woman. Indeed, Jessica Ennis-Hill was the poster girl of the Games. She did not beat one man. She was not competing against men, yet her story drove the global sporting agenda on that wild Saturday night in the Olympic Stadium, turning Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford into temporary bridesmaids.

The Olympic platform is one where women do not have to grapple for exposure in the same way. The four major tennis events offer another. The meshing of male and female competition on one stage compels the neutral eye to take notice of the sporting product. The result is the fostering of familiarity. We learn about the characters, fall for some, dismiss others. Through this filter we distil our likes and dislikes, we pick our winners, we emotionally engage. Before you know it we are hooked and on first name terms with the Jessicas in athletics, the Marias and Serenas and yes, Mr Inverdale, even the Marions in tennis, the Victorias on bikes, the Rebeccas in water, and so on.

Visibility is the key. Through the myriad media platforms the magnificence and glory of female competition was set before us, and consumed with the same passion we devote to men. Though Park wasn’t on it, the leader board at St Andrews pulsed with meaning. Morgan Pressel led into the final round seeking to end her injury nightmares with a major victory that would also guarantee a place on the American team at next week’s ripping yarn, the Solheim Cup.
Chasing her was the world No 2 Stacey Lewis and British lioness Catriona Matthew, who was edged by Park in a play-off in June for the season’s second major, the LPGA Championship. Lewis and Matthew will be at each other’s throats in Denver when the Solheim Cup provides its own vivid demonstration of the essential watchability of elite sport contested by women. Critically, it will be broadcast into our homes, as was the action from St Andrews yesterday. Go on, tell me who won. By Kevin Garside - Independent.