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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nike: Jerseys Not Dangerous

BERLIN -- Borussia Dortmund jerseys pulled from store shelves across Germany after a television report do not contain a dangerous amount of a toxic antibacterial chemical, Nike said.

Citing preliminary tests conducted by a Hamburg laboratory, Nike, manufacturer of the shirts, said Saturday the jerseys "present no danger to people."

"Consumers and merchants can trust that no damage to health can arise from this jersey," Charlie Denson, general manager for Nike Europe, said in a statement.

Der Spiegel news magazine also Saturday quoted an unnamed expert at Germany's federal institute for consumer protection who said tests found that the jerseys posed "no danger to health," and amounts of the chemical were far below risk levels.

Three German department store chains stopped selling the shirts as a precaution after a television program reported that tests by a private laboratory on several clothing items turned up amounts of tributyltin, a heavy metal compound used in anti-barnacle paint for ships.

The jerseys caused the biggest storm because Dortmund, which won the 1997 European Champions Cup, has a big national following.

According to the tests by the Hamburg laboratory, Nike said the amounts were meaningless to consumers and would pose no risk to someone who had worn the jersey.

At high levels in humans, some experts say TBT is believed to cause neurological problems, damage the immune system and harm the liver.

Also used to kill bacteria and quell the smell of perspiration, TBT would seem an ideal additive for sports shirts. But British and Dutch tests have shown the substance to cause mutations in marine snails and the World Wildlife Fund is calling for its global ban.

However, Nike cited another Hamburg scientist, Michael Braungart, as saying that tests on sea animals were done with amounts 10 to 20 times higher than what was found in the shirts - and that those tests were not relevant to how the chemical would be absorbed by the skin.

Nike said it would work with its suppliers to ensure that no illegal substances are used in its products. The jerseys were sold only in Europe, and stitched together by a British company.