Lawsuit claims school uniforms from The Children's Place contain 'forever chemicals’

Photo (c) Klaus Vedfelt - Getty Images

The complaint alleges the chemicals pose a health risk

If you’re a parent who has purchased school uniform pieces from The Children’s Place, you may want to get rid of them sooner than later.

A new class action lawsuit, filed by Angala Garland, found that the clothing store was selling and marketing these items to parents, though they contained dangerous chemicals – per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), or “forever chemicals.” 

PFAS got the name “forever chemicals” because they never degrade in the environment – they contaminate drinking water, soil, air, food, and just about everything. This exposure becomes problematic for consumers’ health – especially young kids. 

A lower price could come with health risks

Garland brought the case to Bradley/Gombacher LLP after purchasing the uniform for her child at The Children’s Place. The pieces are available in-store, online, and on the company’s Amazon storefront. 

In 2022, she purchased: two multi-packs of boys uniform polos, one multi-pack of boys uniform long-sleeve polos, two multi-packs of boys pull-on chino uniform cargo pants, one multi-pack of boys boys uniform chino shorts, a boys uniform stretch chino pant, a boys uniform zip-up mock neck sweater, two multi-packs of boys uniform active fleece joggers and two boys uniform zip-up hoodies. 

Garland went with The Children’s Place because they were offering uniform pieces at a good price. She read through all of the tags and labeling, read through the company’s website, and never saw any disclosures related to PFAS or other dangerous chemicals.

After her four-year-old child wore the uniforms through the 2022-2023 school year, she had the items tested at a third-party lab to confirm the presence of PFAS. Ultimately, the results showed that the clothes contained some amount of the chemicals. 

Now, Garland is seeking restitution from The Children’s Place for herself, as well as any other parents across the country who have purchased these items. 

Kids are at a higher risk 

According to the official complaint, children wear these uniforms five days a week for 40 hours a week. The complaint says this is consistent exposure to these chemicals that come with a number of related health risks. 

“The young children who wear [these] school uniforms are uniquely vulnerable and susceptible to the adverse health incomes associated with PFAS due to their low body weight, sensitive development, prolonged periods of wear during the school week, and direct oral exposure due to frequent hand-to-mouth behaviors,” the complaint reads. “The levels of PFAS in the school uniforms pose a greater body burden and higher health dangers to children than to adults exposed to the same levels of PFAS.” 

The lawsuit alleges that The Children’s Place was aware of the presence of chemicals in the uniforms, and hasn’t stopped selling them or made any changes. 

Long-term dangers from PFAS

PFAS are found in everything from fast food packaging, water- and stain-resistant children’s products, and many personal care products.

PFAS have been found to significantly affect consumers’ hormone levels, which can have an effect on women’s reproductive health or developmental concerns in children. Long-term, there is also a higher risk of obesity, high cholesterol, cancer, and a compromised immune system.

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