Plastic shoes could harm health and environment

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A study from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) show that chemicals in plastic shoes, sold widely in at a variety of retailers, could harm health and our environment.

Chemicals In Plastic Shoes Are Harmful
Plastic shoes are easily washed, and thrown away when they wear out, but a variety of chemicals that could negatively impact human health are used in the manufacturing process. Chemicals in plastic shoes can also harm employees engaged in manufacturing the shoes.

The study, conducted by SSNC and co-op groups from the Philippines, India, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Indonesia found the presence of phthalates that can harm reproductive systems in 17 out of 27 plastic shoes analyzed for chemical content.


DEHP Substance
One substance currently on the EU list of SVHC (Substances of Very High Concern), DEHP, was found in a pair of flip-flops from South Africa. According to the DEHP Information Centre,” Although DEHP is classified in the European Union as a Category 2 reproductive toxicant for both fertility and developmental effects consumers can remain assured that its use in everyday products does not pose a health risk.”

The FDA is still working on recommendations about health risks from DHEP. So far, we are told not to worry. The biggest concern has come from the use of medical devices that contain DHEP. According to the FDA, though there is no solid evidence that DHEP harms, “Exposure to DEHP has produced a range of adverse effects in experimental animals, but those of greatest concern involve effects on the development of the testicles and the production of normal sperm in young animals”.

Consumers Don't Know About Risks of Plastic Shoes
SSNC President Mikael Karlsson says, “Consumers simply do not know that there are harmful substances in plastic shoes, and the companies do not take responsibility for controlling the products. It seems clear that authorities need to have more resources from the government in order to examine the presence of chemicals in common consumer products.”

Other chemicals found in plastic shoes that could potentially harm human health included PAH (polyaromatic hydrocarbons), tin organic compounds, heavy metals, mercury, lead and cadmium. The SSNC seeks to raise consumer awareness when purchasing products that could possibly harm our health and the environment.

Source: Report, DEHP