Toxic chemicals in items labeled stain-, water-resistant: US study




Toxic chemicals were found by a recent US study by Toxic-Free Future in most products labeled stain- or water-resistant, with 72 per cent testing positive for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Items that were found to contain ‘forever chemicals’ include rain jackets, hiking pants, mattress pads, comforters, napkins and tablecloths.

The report, titled ‘Toxic Convenience: The hidden costs of forever chemicals in stain—and water-resistant products’, also reveals that PFAS-free products are available in each of the three main product categories studied, proving that alternatives are in use.

The first-ever release of brand-specific information on the presence of PFAS in key home furnishings, the study analysed a total of 60 products purchased from 10 major retailers. All products tested that were not marketed as stain- or water-resistant were found to be PFAS-free. 

Toxic chemicals were found by a recent US study by Toxic-Free Future in most products labeled stain- or water-resistant, with 72 per cent testing positive for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Items that were found to contain ‘forever chemicals’ include rain jackets, hiking pants, mattress pads, comforters, napkins and tablecloths.

“Our testing finds continued, unnecessary use of the toxic chemicals known as PFAS in outdoor clothing and home furnishings like bedding and tablecloths,” said Erika Schreder, study author and science director for Seattle-based Toxic-Free Future, in a press release by the non-profit research and advocacy organisation.

“When companies use PFAS to make products stain- or water-resistant, they are using chemicals that contaminate homes, drinking water, and breast milk with highly persistent chemicals  that can cause cancer and harm the immune system,” she said. 

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At least one product from every retailer was found to contain PFAS. Testing for total fluorine and PFAS was conducted at independent scientific laboratories.

The study also reveals that manufacturers have been using a mixture of PFAS, including compounds currently banned in other countries. Testing found both older PFAS, already banned in the European Union and phased out by major US manufacturers, as well as newer PFAS.

Although the newer PFAS compounds are commonly believed to be the most in use, 74 per cent of items with PFAS tested positive for the older PFAS. 

Chemical companies sell PFAS for application to textiles and other products as stain-resistant, water-repellent and grease-proofing treatments.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)





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