This Dangerous Chemical Could Be In Your Sports Bra, And You Don’t Even Know It

New testing by the Center for Environmental Health reveals shocking results about some popular sports bras.

When it comes to sports bras, usually we’re focused on things like whether it will wick away sweat from our body or pass the bounce test (i.e., keep our puppies in place during high-impact movement). But there are new concerns about some sports bras on the market, and you should take note.

BPA, or chemical bisphenol A, the same carcinogenic substance found in some plastic bottles and drinkware, has been discovered in 8 popular brands of sports bras on the market, research has found.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) sent legal notices to the companies after discovering the clothing could expose individuals to up to 22 times the safe limit of the chemical, according to California law.

The offending brands include Athleta, PINK, Asics, The North Face, Brooks, All in Motion, Nike, and FILA.

BPA, a well-studied hormone-disrupting chemical, mimics estrogen and can disrupt the normal functioning of the body, including metabolism, growth and development, and reproduction.

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“Even low levels of exposure to BPA during pregnancy have been associated with a variety of health problems in offspring,” said Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva, Science Director at CEH, in a press release. “These problems include abnormal development of the mammary glands and ovaries that can increase the likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer later in life. These effects occur even at low levels of exposure like those seen in people today.”

A spokesperson for the CEH calls the findings “concerning.” “People are exposed to BPA through ingestion (e.g., from eating food or drinking water from containers that have leached BPA) or by absorption through the skin (e.g., from handling receipt paper),” said Kaya Allan Sugerman, the Illegal Toxic Threats Program Director at CEH, in a press release.

“Studies have shown that BPA can be absorbed through the skin and end up in the bloodstream after handling receipt paper for seconds or a few minutes at a time. Sports bras and athletic shirts are worn for hours at a time, and you are meant to sweat in them, so it is concerning to be finding such high levels of BPA in our clothing,” she adds.

Throughout the past year, CEH has pushed more than 90 companies to reformulate their products to remove all bisphenols including BPA, and some have already agreed to do so.

The companies have 60-days to work with CEH to fix the problem before CEH proceeds with an official complaint.

For now, you can check if you have any of the offending sports bras in your own closet by emailing the brands and advocating for more information.

Jené Luciani Sena
Jené Luciani Sena is an accredited journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author, regularly seen on national TV outlets such as Access Daily, Today and Dr Oz. Touted as one of Woman’s World Magazine’s “Ultimate Experts,” she’s a TEDTalk speaker and a busy Mom of 4. Read more
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