Páramo institutes a system to guarantee fabrics and components are “PFC-treatment free” Páramo is well known in the UK for its use of Nikwax technology to bring innovative and functional designs to market.
Now it is leading once more by ensuring that all raw materials are screened to exclude PFC treatment. Why would this be necessary, since Páramo is already using Nikwax technology, which is PFC free? Why is PFC (or fluorocarbon) water-repellency, such a problem?
Awareness of PFC environmental and health problems is growing daily, especially in German-speaking countries. PFCs have been used for years on Outdoor clothing, but now the evidence is building to show that they represent a severe environmental hazard and consumers are becoming aware of this.
In fact, these chemicals are already in all of us, trapped in our blood, and are almost impossible to get rid of. Above a certain level they will contribute to the risk of cancer and other diseases. Most of us have a relatively low level, which probably will not significantly affect us, but people living off seafood in the Arctic have high levels, which are affecting the health of their communities.
Why is controlling PFC out of the supply chain an issue? Because these PFC materials are so persistent, and used so widely in Outdoor textiles, it is difficult to find any materials that are not polluted with a trace of them.
Therefore measurement for control is extremely difficult. In 2012, Greenpeace tested a number of brands, including jackets which had been specifically made for Greenpeace.
Both Greenpeace jackets and other brands claiming to be PFC-free showed levels of PFC, raising the question of how to exclude them from the supply chain.
The important thing is to test for PFC treatment, instead of PFCs Whilst there is PFC pollution coming from all over the place, the real major source is the PFC water-repellent chemicals used on garments, carpets, and even pizza boxes.