• Sweden edition
 
Swedish soldiers wear 'toxic' uniforms: report

Swedish soldiers wear 'toxic' uniforms: report

Published: 30 Oct 2012 07:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Oct 2012 07:44 GMT+01:00

“We don’t want permethrin products scattered across the country. It is a strong toxin," said Tomas Westerlund of the Armed Forces to daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

“Many think it is cool to run around town or on the metro wearing their uniform when on leave. But it contains toxins that could be transferred to nature or to one’s kids.”

Permethrin is a common synthetic chemical, which is widely used as an insecticide, acaricide, and insect repellent. It keeps the soldiers safe from disease carried by ticks or mosquitoes.

The Armed Forces are adamant that wearing the uniforms is not dangerous for the soldiers and that the dry desert air breaks down the substance faster.

According to SvD, uniforms in the US have been impregnated with the toxin for twenty years. Tests have shown some cases of skin irritation and even nerve damage in laboratory animals, but this has mainly shown up in test where the animals ingested the toxin.

The conclusion of the US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, was that permethrin could be carcinogenic in large doses but that the amount coming off uniforms probably wouldn’t be potent enough to constitute a danger.

However, it is agreed that the substance is “very dangerous” if it entered the drinking water. It has also been deemed very dangerous for water-living organisms as well as pets. The EPA is currently investigating the effects of long-term exposure to low levels of permethrin, according to SvD.

In Europe, the usage of the substance as been questioned and 25 out of 29 products containing permethrin have disappeared off the market.

According to Hams Muilerman of the Pesticide Action Network, Pan Europe, permethrin should be used with caution. The substance works as a neurotoxin on humans; it affects the brain.

“To me it would seem as if it would be hazardous to one’s health to wear clothes containing permethrin for 6 month at a time,” he told SvD.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

14:49 October 30, 2012 by millionmileman
It's savfe for the soldiers but they don't want it scattered around Sweden. What am I missing?
21:12 October 30, 2012 by matona1
i hate army uniforrm it symbolise evil
07:47 October 31, 2012 by Grokh
funny how people are trying to find a cure for cancer when stuff like this happens all the time , basically all the stuff we eat/breathe is filled with traces of some form of pesticide and they keep making the pesticides stronger.
20:30 October 31, 2012 by k2kats
Why are these sons, brothers, fathers, nephews and uncles considered disposable?

There is already ample scientific data showing that permethrin is hazardous. Even if that were not true, the precautionary principle should be applied to our protectors as well as our citizens.
02:57 November 13, 2012 by R5S
Permithrin treated clothing is freely available in the USA, and recommended by the University of Rhode Island as an effective and safe prevention for Lyme disease. The treatment is garanteed for the life of the clothing, or 70 washes. While it may pose risks for long term usage, the alternative illnesses (borelia/ Lyme disease; malaria, etc) also pose a real risk in some places (even though the Swedish medical authorities would like us to believe that borelia is rare in Sweden and requires minimal treatment for full cure). Some consider the risk of such insect bourne illnesses to be much greater than that of the clothing. In Sweden Permithrin was used in a totally irresponible way in the past, by spraying piles of lumber in the woods to stop insect damage. It's also used in Sweden on horses and to eliminate lice in kids hair.
Today's headlines
National
Stockholm suicide bomb investigation closes
The suicide bombing took place in 2010. Photo: TT

Stockholm suicide bomb investigation closes

UPDATED: Sweden's Security Service (Säpo) has announced that it will stop its core investigation into a suicide bombing in Stockholm four years ago. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Military seeks 'patience' in sub search
The search for the missing 'submarine' is now in its sixth day. Photo: TT

Military seeks 'patience' in sub search

Sweden's military says it has no plans to downsize the search for a possible foreign submarine and is prepared to force any suspect weapon to the surface of the sea, "with armed force if necessary". READ  

Health
Swedish farmers contracted swine flu
Swine flu can spread between pigs and humans. Photo: TT

Swedish farmers contracted swine flu

A human strain of the swine flu virus normally only found in pigs was discovered in Sweden earlier this year, the country's Public Health Agency has revealed. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden ready to use force to surface sub
Photo: TT

Sweden ready to use force to surface sub

Sweden's military says it has no plans to downsize the search for a possible foreign submarine and is prepared to force any suspect vessel to the surface of the sea, "with armed force if necessary". READ  

National
Chainsaw man destroys house in family feud
The man used a chainsaw to destroy most of the Lidköping home. Photo: Shutterstock

Chainsaw man destroys house in family feud

A man in central Sweden has gone on a rampage with a chainsaw after a family housing dispute took an unexpected turn. READ  

National
Man frames beggar with stolen tablet computer
The beggar was detained for almost 24 hours after the accusation. Photo: TT

Man frames beggar with stolen tablet computer

A man in southern Sweden has landed in hot water after he stole a tablet computer, gave it to a beggar, then reported her to the police. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'
Former navy officer Bosse Linden in Vaxholm. Photo: Maddy Savage

Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'

Stockholm's archipelago is the focus of the biggest military operation in Sweden since the Cold War. The Local is in the region's capital, Vaxholm, to see what residents make of the drama. READ  

Presented by CurrencyFair
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
CurrencyFair co-founder Brett Meyers

CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers

Tired of losing money when you send cash back home? Join other expats in Sweden who avoid bank fees and hidden charges by sending money internationally with CurrencyFair, an online marketplace where secure transactions are faster and cheaper. READ  

European Union
Extremist saves Sweden Democrats' EU group
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Extremist saves Sweden Democrats' EU group

The EU group that bound several Eurosceptic parties including the Sweden Democrats has been saved by an MEP from a far-right Polish group, just a week after it appeared to have crumbled, according to a UK press report. READ  

Stockholm 'submarine' hunt
Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm
Sweden's Armed Forces are out in force after reports of a foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago. Photo: TT

Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm

The world has had its periscope on Sweden since the Swedish military launched an extensive hunt for what is rumoured to be a damaged Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. Here is the timeline of events so far. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Sub hunt: Timeline
National
Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Blog updates

21 October

Denna & den här (The Swedish Teacher) »

"?Denna? or ?den hr?? Swedish language students often ask question about different pronouns. One pronoun that especially..." READ »

 

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

992
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN