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Press Releases
2023-10-10  download as PDF Download this press release in Adbobe Acrobat format | download as DOC Download this press release in Microsoft Word format
Progress in the development of PFAS alternatives stirs optimism among performance apparel brands

The latest developments in alternatives to PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) or "forever chemicals" are showing promise for use in the manufacture of performance apparel, according to "Textile and clothing brands face pressure to innovate as legislation builds against the use of PFASs, or 'forever chemicals'"--a 52-page report from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.

Performance apparel brands are facing a major challenge as lawmakers worldwide are strengthening regulations or proposing new regulations in order to eliminate PFASs, a family of more than 10,000 synthetic fluorinated compounds which are prized for their unique characteristics.

PFASs are commonly used in the manufacture of durable water repellent (DWR) finishes, treatments and membranes, and their development has enabled performance apparel manufacturers to produce high performance waterproof clothing at scale and at a relatively low cost.

However, there is increasing scientific evidence which demonstrates that PFASs can have adverse effects on the environment and human health. In particular, PFASs have been found to persist in the environment, and they have been shown to be bioaccumulative, highly mobile and toxic. All of this has spurred a flurry of legislative activities aimed at eliminating PFASs.

As a result of the threat of forthcoming regulations, performance apparel brands face pressure to develop alternative substances which offer the same levels of performance as PFASs--and to do so quickly.

So far, many of the alternative substances already commercialised for the performance apparel market have proved to be incapable of providing the levels of alcohol repellency and oil repellency required to compete with PFASs. Also, only a few of these alternative substances have been found to provide effective protection against abrasion and stains.

However, breakthroughs are beginning to be achieved in this field. Some of the latest innovations in PFAS-free finishes, membranes and treatments boast advanced properties which are comparable with, if not better than, those of finishes, membranes and treatments made using PFASs--much to the relief of the performance apparel industry.

For example, dimpora eco pur membrane by dimpora is a waterproof breathable membrane which is free from PFASs. The membrane is suitable for outdoor apparel, and it is produced using a liquid composition based on polyurethane (PU) polymer. The membrane prevents penetration by moisture in the form of water vapour molecules, it does not interfere with the comfort of apparel to which it is applied, and it is inherently stretchy and therefore facilitates freedom of movement.

Brands which have already employed the membrane in the manufacture of their products with great success include Rotauf, a performance apparel brand based in Chur, Switzerland.

Similarly, the chemicals company Archroma is achieving success with a durable water repellent system called Rain Away, which is said to provide a level of performance comparable with that of finishes made using PFASs.

The system is suitable for outdoor apparel and equipment, and it is produced using a PFAS-free durable water repellent (DWR) finish in combination with a cross-linker.

The system forms a film--much like a fatty or waxy film--on the surface of a fabric to which it is applied, and it imparts water repellency, abrasion resistance, ultraviolet (UV) resistance and a soft handle. At the same time, it does not interfere with breathability.

However, while innovations such as the dimpora eco pur membrane and Rain Away system are showing promise as viable alternatives to waterproof breathable membranes and DWR finishes made using PFASs, further investment in the research and development of innovative alternatives to PFASs is required--and brands must accelerate their efforts or risk facing legal challenges and reputational damage.


"Textile and clothing brands face pressure to innovate as legislation builds against the use of PFASs, or 'forever chemicals'" is available for purchase from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence and costs 345 (UK), Euro635 (Europe, Middle East or Africa) or US$835 (Americas or Asia Pacific). For further information or to purchase this report, visit https://bit.ly/3LzH34Z

The report is also available in Issue No 78 of Performance Apparel Markets. Other reports published in this issue include: "Fast track: seamless knitting continues to shape the sports shoe market"; "Performance apparel markets: product developments and innovations, September 2023"; "Profile of Polartec: a pioneer in synthetic fleece materials and innovator in performance fabrics for the textile and clothing industry"; and "Performance apparel markets: business update, September 2023".

Performance Apparel Markets is published four times a year by Textiles Intelligence. Each issue provides an independent and worldwide perspective on the performance apparel industry.

A year's printed subscription to Performance Apparel Markets costs 1,020 (UK), Euro1,780 (Europe, Middle East and Africa) or US$2,245 (Americas and Asia Pacific). An electronic supplement is also available; please contact Textiles Intelligence for details. Single issues and multi-report packages are available on request. To download a sample issue of Performance Apparel Markets, visit https://bit.ly/2FaEiHn

For further information about all Textiles Intelligence publications, please visit https://www.textilesintelligence.com

Emily Burke, senior editor

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Tel: +44 (0)1625 536136
Textiles Intelligence, Pentland House, Village Way, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 2GH, UK