Women wear athletic pants regardless of whether they intend to work out or not because they are comfortable. And because most of our audience is wearing yoga pants or activewear pants on a weekly basis, we decided to test the most popular brand for toxic PFAS “forever chemicals”–Lululemon. So does Lululemon contain toxic PFAS treatments? You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like air fryers without PFAS treatments, period underwear without PFAS treatments, & best & worst yoga mats, now join us for the test results of Lululemon athletic pants.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
Potential Health Effects of PFAS Chemicals from Research
PFAS (aka PFCs or perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA and PFOS) are added to many products we purchase to make them “stain-resistant,” “grease-proof,” and “water-resistant.” When it comes to athletic wear, if you find them, they are likely there for water resistance and to wick away sweat. Sounds like a great idea until you realize how many problematic health and environmental impacts they have.
Here is the list of health problems (PFAS) perfluorinated chemicals are linked with.
- reduction in immunity
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- reduced vaccination response
- cardiovascular disease
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- increased risk of allergies & asthma in young children
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- increase the chances of miscarriage
- increase cholesterol levels
- low sperm count
- smaller penis size
- increase the risk of cancer like testicular & kidney cancers
If you feel like you’ve been exposed to PFAS, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of Community Health Investigations has created this fact sheet to use when talking to your doctor.
9,000+ PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Are Impossible to Test For Directly
Because there are over 9,000 of these PFAS “forever chemicals” and testing is only available for about a couple dozen, it’s impossible to test for them all directly. This was a real big problem for the composting industry when ascertaining whether food packaging was safe to be certified as “compostable” for the gardens of consumers. So they devised a plan to test instead for fluorine, which is the chemical all PFAS chemicals have in common. Testing for fluorine and finding it at certain levels can indicate whether PFAS was “intentionally added” or not and how much is inside.
Mamavation did this type of testing the other day when we tested the top period underwear products for PFAS and found 65% of them contained fluorine, meaning the period underwear industry has a big PFAS problem as well.
Because testing for fluorine is the only standard that is out there, we’ve adapted this to fabrics and are using it for our investigation on fibers & fabrics.
Lab Results of From Testing Lululemon Activewear Pants
In June of 2021, an EPA-certified laboratory conducted tests of Total Fluorine by Oxygen Flask Combustion and Ion-Selective Electrode on Lululemon Athletic Pants. The Level of Detection was 10 ppm.
The Lululemon pants were purchased in May of 2021 and the packaging was not opened. The contents inside were only handled by the laboratory, so these were not MY athletic pants, but a replica of something I have.
- Lululemon Activewear Pants Results: 32 parts per million (ppm) fluorine detected
So what does this mean? In the world of food packaging, they would say this is not “intentionally added” but a possible point of contamination. What type of PFAS are they using? We don’t know. There are 9,000 or more of these chemicals and it’s impossible for us to find out. But because Lululemon was found with contamination high enough to be detected, we cannot recommend this brand.
Want To See More PFAS Lab Testing?
Mamavation has tested lots of additional products for PFAS over the years including the following:
- Period Underwear–17 of the most popular period underwear brands
- Fast Food Packaging—In-N-Out Burger wrappers for PFAS
- Parchment Paper—If You Care Brand Parchment Baking Paper
- Parchment Paper—Kirkland (Costco) Parchment Paper
- Parchment Paper—Reynolds Kitchen Parchment Paper
Tips For Avoiding PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Inside Your Home
Mamavation has been keeping you in the know about PFAS continually so we can guide you to safer products. Here are some tips for lessening the amount of PFAS your family is exposed to inside your home:
- Swap your Non-stick cookware to these healthier brands
- Find better small kitchen appliances without PFAS coated surfaces. Here are the best air fryers without PFAS coatings.
- Try to find alternatives to non-stick products whenever possible (especially if you have any small pets or immune-compromised family members. Birds are especially vulnerable).
- Avoid foods with packaging. Grease-proof food packaging (pizza boxes, cake cardboard bottoms, & french fry wrappers. Click here for a list of which grocery store chains are serving PFAS-free packing)
- Avoid fast food as much as possible. (Did you know we tested In-N-Out Burger wrappers the other day?)
- Look into investing in a reverse osmosis water system for your home, especially if you live by a military base or airport.
- When purchasing furniture or carpet, opt-out of stain and dirt resistance treatments. (Like StainMaster)
- Even your mattress contains PFAS chemicals but these organic mattresses do not.
- Avoid buying clothing with labels indicating water, stain or dirt repellant. (Like Patagonia jackets)
- Avoid choosing personal care products with “fluoro” or “perfluoro” on the ingredient list. However, did you know that some tooth floss contains PFAS? These brands do not.
- Dust more often! FAS chemicals stick to dust particles so the more dust you have in your home, the more likely there is PFAS in the air you breathe. Click here for our air purifier investigation on best brands.