By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Poland's official Euro 2012 soccer shirt contains toxins and should be banned from sale while jerseys of other teams at the finals also contain harmful substances, the European Consumer's Organisation (BEUC) said.
The organization, which groups together consumer rights bodies across Europe, said its members tested nine shirts of teams competing at Euro 2012 and found they all contained toxic elements including lead and nickel.
The strip of tournament co-hosts Poland, it said, should be banned from shops as it contained organotin at higher doses than the legal limit. The compound, used to reduce body odor, can harm the nervous system.
Nike, producer of the shirts for Poland as well as France, Netherlands and Portugal, said its jerseys fully complied with all EU and national legal requirements.
BEUC said it found lead in six shirts -- France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Ukraine -- with levels in the jerseys of Spain and Germany exceeding those permitted for children's products.
The shirts of Portugal and Netherlands contained nickel, a skin allergen for some people and a possible cause at very high doses of respiratory problems.
The group said nonylphenol, which harms the glands system, was found in Spain and Italy shirts.
"Football fans pay up to 90 euros ($110) for the shirt of their favorite team. The least they should expect is to have a quality and safe product," BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said in a statement this week.
The general secretary of European soccer's governing body UEFA said he was surprised the report had come out just before the start of the finals being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
"...if there is any problem with the shirts, then surely it is a problem for the kit manufacturers to address or each country's national football association," Gianni Infantino told Reuters, adding it had not been an issue in the past.
The tests were carried out by BEUC members Altroconsumo of Italy, Portugal's DECO and OCU of Spain.
Adidas, kitmaker for Germany, Spain, Russia and Ukraine, said the consumer group's tests had shown the presence of heavy metals in some shirts, but at levels within legal standards.
"The OCU therefore advises all consumers to wash the shirts before wearing them," it said in an emailed response.
Puma, kitmaker for Italy, said the shirt had an Oeko-Tex 100 certificate attesting to its safety, but would nevertheless submit the shirt for further tests at an independent laboratory.
Euro 2012 kicks off with the opening game between Poland and Greece on Friday in Warsaw with the final in Kiev on July 1.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Additional reporting by Adrian Krajewski and Mike Collett in Warsaw; Editing by Ken Ferris)