Lawsuit Investigation: Could Your Leggings Contain Toxic PFAS Chemicals?
Last Updated on January 11, 2022
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
- January 11, 2022 – Investigation Closed
- Thank you to everyone who reached out to us in regard to their leggings. At this point, attorneys working with ClassAction.org have decided to close their investigation into this matter, meaning they no longer need to speak with individuals who purchased Fabletics, Nike or Gymshark leggings.
The information below was posted when this investigation began and remains for reference only. If there are any updates (e.g., if a lawsuit is filed, if the investigation reopens), they will be posted to this page.
Check out our open list of investigations here and make sure to sign up for our newsletter for the latest class action news and information.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone who purchased Fabletics, Nike or Gymshark leggings.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether these leggings contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a large group of manufactured chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other serious health effects. If so, they may be able to get a class action lawsuit started on behalf of consumers who purchased the apparel.
- How Could a Class Action Help?
- A class action lawsuit, if filed and successful, could give consumers the chance to get some of their money back. The companies could also be forced to remove any PFAS chemicals found in their leggings or, alternatively, provide warnings to consumers about their presence.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to speak with anyone who purchased leggings from the following companies:
They’re investigating whether leggings sold under these brand names contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a large group of manufactured chemicals that have long been linked to cancer and other negative health effects. If the leggings are found to contain PFAS, the attorneys may be able to start a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers who purchased the apparel.
Did you buy Fabletics, Nike or Gymshark leggings?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org need to hear from as many people as possible as they investigate the presence of PFAS in popular workout apparel. The more people they can speak with, the better chance they have at getting a class action lawsuit on file.
What Are PFAS and Why Are They Used in Clothing?
PFAS refers to a group of 4,700 man-made and nearly indestructible chemicals that are widely used for commercial purposes due to their ability to resist heat, water and stains. While notorious for their presence in non-stick cookware and firefighting foam, toxic PFAS chemicals have also made their way into some brands’ workout and outdoor apparel to provide a “moisture-wicking” quality.
Can PFAS Be Absorbed Through the Skin?
While most individuals are exposed to PFAS through the air they breathe or the food or water they consume, concerns have been raised about the presence of the chemicals in the clothes we wear.
One animal study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that exposure to PFAS through the skin could pose the same health risks associated with ingesting the chemicals. The study found that after several days of “heavy exposure” to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical belonging to the PFAS family, the test subjects (i.e., rodents) showed “significantly reduced levels of antibodies” and a “significant decrease in the weight of the spleen and thymus, indicating PFOA was absorbed through the skin and caused immunosuppressive effects,” the Environmental Working Group reports.
It is believed that clothes treated with PFAS also present an environmental risk in that the chemicals can contaminate the water used for washing. According to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, water that is used during washing is “directed to sewers and wastewater treatment plants and, ultimately, to environmental waters that can in turn become a source for drinking water production.”
What Are the Health Risks Associated with Toxic PFAS Chemicals?
Often referred to as “forever chemicals,” PFAS are “very persistent” and can accumulate and remain in the human body for decades. The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has recognized that exposure to high levels of PFAS can impact the immune system and may reduce antibody response to vaccines, a significant concern amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to toxic PFAS may also lead to:
- Prostate, kidney and testicular cancer
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Decreased fertility
- Increased blood pressure in pregnant women
- Developmental effects in children
How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
If a class action lawsuit is filed and successful, consumers may be able to get back some of the money they spent on their leggings. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org suspect consumers would not have bought leggings known to contain PFAS chemicals – or at least wouldn’t have paid as much as they did.
Furthermore, a successful case could force the manufacturers to put warnings on any clothing found to contain PFAS or, alternatively, stop use of the chemicals altogether. It is believed that non-PFAS alternatives are available and can provide comparable moisture-wicking capabilities. Indeed, some apparel companies, including North Face and Patagonia, have committed to phasing PFAS out of their products completely.
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