To celebrate international play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, TÜV Rheinland, a global testing and certification program, purchased and tested 90 fan T-shirts for all participating teams, to find the T-shirts that best complied with the European Union’s standards on toxic substances in textiles. The company’s “textile oracle” pitted team T-shirts against one another in a round-robin-style tournament, followed by a knock-out stage, following the World Cup format. T-shirts were not official FIFA or German Football Association products and were all purchased in the countries represented and online. The test results were jaw-dropping.
“Every third fan jersey is so full of toxic substances that it should not be sold at all according to European regulations, and only every third T-shirt actually passed all of the tests,” said Frank Dudley, TÜV Rheinland spokesperson. The losers included 32 shirts that exceeded the European limit for phthalates (plasticizers), five over the limit for cadmium and a T-shirt from Belgium that overstepped the threshold for azo dyes (banned from use in textiles). Only 30 fan jerseys passed all of the tests, including the North American team T-shirts. The final match pitted Portugal against Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the “textile oracle” named Bosnia and Herzegovina as the winners of the first Textile World Cup with the best, safest and most compliant T-shirt. Read more about TÜV Rheinland at their website.