Greenpeace finds danger in kids’ clothes

Research released on Thursday by environmental group Greenpeace showed that more than half of clothing sold by German discount brands contain chemicals known to be dangerous to health and the environment, with items from Aldi being the worst offenders.

Greenpeace finds danger in kids' clothes
Photo: DPA

Shoes were found to contain the most chemicals, Greenpeace said in a statement.

"Parents will often throw a pair of kids shoes on top of their milk and butter in their shopping carts. But the discount clothing is often contaminated with dangerous chemicals," Greenpeace's textile expert in Germany said.

Independent labs tested 26 articles of clothing for chemicals already regulated by the German textile industry. Many shoes, including the popular children's rubber boots made by Tchibo, were found to have carcinogens in them, Greenpeace said.

Items from Aldi were graded by the environmental group as "miserable", followed by Lidl as "bad". Rewe, Penna and Tchibo were given the grade of "being on their way", though none are poison free.

An Aldi-Nord spokesperson said that the supermarket chain was restricting the harmful chemical content of goods aimed at children to lawfully-regulated amounts.

Green Party politician Renate Künast, the head of the parliamentary Consumer Protection Office is calling for stronger EU laws against dangerous chemicals in clothing and wants more transparency in goods.

"We have to be more clear about which substances may not be used in goods meant for children," she told the ARD Morgenmagazin on Thursday, adding that concrete controls are difficult to maintain. 

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Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction

Campaigners began a legal challenge against five German regions on Monday to force them to take stronger action on climate change, emboldened by a landmark recent court ruling in favour of environmental protection.

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction
Demonstrators from the Fridays for Future movement protest in Gießen, Hesse, with a sign saying "No wishy-washy, no climate lashing". Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The plaintiffs are basing their case on a sensational verdict by Germany’s constitutional court in April which found that Germany’s plans to curb CO2 emissions were insufficient to meet the targets of the Paris climate agreement and placed an unfair burden on future generations.

In a major win for activists, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government then brought forward its date for carbon neutrality by five years to 2045, and raised its 2030 target for greenhouse gas reductions.


On Monday, 16 children and young adults began proceedings against the regions of Hesse, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saarland, with support of environmental NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH).

They are charging that none of the states targeted by the legal action have passed sufficiently strong climate legislation at the local level, according to DUH.

“The federal government can’t succeed on its own,” lead lawyer Remo Klinger said in a press conference, highlighting state competence in the area of transport.

DUH worked closely together with the youth climate movement Fridays For Future to find activists willing to front the challenges, the group said.

Seventeen-year-old plaintiff Alena Hochstadt said the western state of Hesse, known for its Frankfurt banking hub, had always been her home but she feared having “no future here”.

Concern about the risk of “floods, storms and droughts” led her and other campaigners to seek “a legal basis for binding climate protection”.

READ ALSO: Climate change made German floods ‘more likely and more intense’

Hesse’s ministers for climate and the economy said they were “surprised” by the announcement.

“DUH clearly has not yet understood that we in Hesse are well ahead,” Priska Hinz and Tarek Al-Wazir said in a joint statement, drawing attention to an energy future law from 2012, before the Paris climate agreement.

In July, DUH-supported activists took the states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg to court on similar grounds.