It seems ironic that people that are interested in getting close to nature in the outdoors are actually relying on waterproof clothing that may have used environmentally damaging chemicals in their production. Charities such as Greenpeace are concerned about the use of PFCs in the manufacture of outdoor gear. Here are details of the research, but it’s not for the faint hearted. For a more user-friendly summary, read the article in The Guardian.
The main contention is that Fluoropolymers break down very slowly, are dispersed over the entire globe, even in secluded mountain lakes and can damage the health of animals and humans. Of 40 products tested, only 4 were PFC free.
Although there are plans to phase out PFCs by 2020, Greenpeace believe that those plans are not ambitious enough.
The problem can be compounded by the fact that many waterproofing products on the market use the same technology. If you look at the ingredients on this waterpoofing product from Mountain Warehouse, you’ll see that it contains Waterbased Fluoropolymer – perfluoroalkyl acrylic copolymerisate. Our own proofing product does not use PFCs, it uses dendrimer technology which has a much better environmental profile.
So what can you do?
There’s little you can do about waterproof gear that you already own, but if you are looking for new items, seek out ones that use environmentally-friendly chemicals in their construction.
If you already own waterproof gear, we offer the following care information:
- Try to scrape off dirt or rinse it on a regular basis, just using water
- If the garment is still water repellent, wash it in Liquid Soap Flakes, which will not further strip the waterproof protection
- If water repellency has already diminished, wash and tumble dry the garment using our 2 in 1 wash & proof. If it is heavily soiled, you may wish to wash it first with Liquid Soap Flakes.