The last thing you'd expect to expose you to carcinogens would be your swimsuit.
But this is 2019, and life is full of surprises.
A Twitter poster shared a photograph on social media of her slime-green Fashion Nova bikini.
That's innocent enough, until you see the warning label reading:
"This product contains Di(2-ethylhexl) phthalate, lead and cadmium, which are known in the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm."
People appeared rather vexed by this discovery.
Is this the price we pay for fast fashion?
There's a simple explanation for this, however.
Some Twitter users noted that such labels appear on all products in the state of California...
...and the interesting thing about these labels is that they're required by law per Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
"Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment."
"By requiring that this information be provided, Proposition 65 enables Californians to make informed decisions about their exposures to these chemicals. Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water."
And it gets better...
"Proposition 65 requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 900 chemicals since it was first published in 1987."
Potentially harmful chemicals are used and are standard in the clothing manufacturing process. They're responsible for the comfy feeling of some of your favorite clothes.
The reason why your favorite shirt or pair of pants is wrinkle-free, for instance, is because of formaldehyde usage. Similarly, the silky feel of some of your favorite PJs is because of silicone.
Thanks, textile finishing!
And thank you, California for looking out for us all.