Fashion giant H&M Group and Danish retailer Coop are joining Swedish chemical expert non-governmental organisation (NGO) International Chemical Secretariat’s (ChemSec) call to end the use of harmful polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in products and supply chains.
As these are perfectly legal to use, unless there are government restrictions, suppliers will continue to use these in manufacturing, ChemSec said.
This commitment by the two companies came on the day on which award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo and director Todd Haynes addressed the European Parliament to speak about the true story that inspired the duo’s latest film ‘Dark Waters’, in which an environmental attorney takes on a chemical giant and exposes decades of PFAS pollution.
ChemSec’s corporate PFAS initiative includes a call on policymakers to regulate PFAS efficiently without the possibility for manufacturers to simply swap one PFAS chemical for an unregulated cousin, a call on the chemical industry to put money into innovation and develop safer alternatives to PFAS for all kinds of products, a recognition that PFAS are a major health and environmental problem, a serious commitment to end all non-essential PFAS uses in products and supply chains, and a call on all other brands to join this commitment and work towards a phase-out of PFAS in all kinds of consumer products, the NGO said in a press release.
Brands and retailers who want to stop PFAS from being used as ingredients in their products have very limited ways of communicating this in the global supply chain, it said.
PFAS is a chemical family consisting of almost 5,000 industrially-produced chemicals. In manufacturing, PFAS are favoured for their durability and well-functioning properties; they provide properties such as non-stick, water repellence and anti-grease to many types of products, including cosmetics, food packaging, frying pans, outdoor gear and firefighting foam.
The industrial use of PFAS has been so prevalent in the last decades that today 99% of every human, including foetuses, have measurable levels of PFAS in their bloodstreams, ChemSec added.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)