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PFAS Are Out of Style


Photo by Kai Pilger

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) also known as “forever chemicals” are chemicals found in everyday objects that result in harmful health conditions linked to reduced responses to vaccines, increased cholesterol, and increased risk for cancer and more. They are in objects that we surround ourselves with everyday, including our clothes.


PFAS chemicals are primarily found in clothing items that are labeled as waterproof, stain-repellent, or dirt-repellant. The primary function of these chemicals within clothing is to provide breathable, water-resistant fabric to provide for consumer demands. The more we purchase these products, the greater demand there is for manufacturers to continue the utilization of PFAS.


Within each stage of the production, PFAS are utilized and manufactured in clothing items. In addition to polluting the final clothing item, chemical manufacturing facilities often contaminate the surrounding environment including the air, soil, and water. PFAS are riddled within the clothing production industry.


Many companies have recognized the risks associated with PFAS in clothing and are working to mitigate their usage but it is not mandatory for companies to report if they are using them. California is leading the United States in the creation of legislation to work to ban PFAS in textiles and clothing articles, this bill is AB 1817. This bill is heavily supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and Clean Water Action. This may set a precedent for other states to do the same and take action against PFAS in clothes.


At Seaside Sustainability, through advocacy we urge legislators to take action against harmful practices that negatively impact the environment. PFAS in clothing is just one example of a destructive practice that can be mitigated through direct action. As consumers, we can work to avoid products that contain PFAS to both protect ourselves and the environment. Here are some companies that have eliminated PFAS from clothing production.


PFAS-Free Businesses-

  • Burberry

  • Esprit

  • H&M

  • J Brands

  • Levi Strauss & Co.

  • Mammut

  • prAna

  • UNIQLO

  • Zara

  • Deuter

  • AllBirds

  • And More!

Researching what your products are made out of and ensuring that they are not produced with PFAS makes a large difference. This limits the demand for these harmful chemicals. Apart from making consumer-smart choices, work with local legislators to create policies against these destructive products. You can make a difference!


 

References


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, June 24). Potential health effects of Pfas Chemicals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/index.html


Yiliqi, S. B. &. (2022, May 4). Going out of fashion: U.S. apparel manufacturers must eliminate Pfas "Forever Chemicals" from their supply chains. NRDC. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://www.nrdc.org/resources/going-out-fashion-us-apparel-manufacturers-must-eliminate-pfas-from-their-supply-chains#:~:text=PFAS%20use%20in%20apparel%20can,pollution%20by%20ceasing%20its%20use.


Bill text. Bill Text - AB-1718 Elementary and secondary education: visual and performing arts and world languages: instructional materials: professional development. (n.d.). Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB1718


February 07, 2022 A. K. Y. (2022, May 24). We don't need toxic "Forever" pfas chemicals in our clothes. NRDC. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://www.nrdc.org/experts/avinash-kar/we-dont-need-toxic-forever-pfas-chemicals-our-clothes


Free. PFAS. (n.d.). Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://pfascentral.org/pfas-free-products/




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