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AFIRM Releases Phaseout Guidance for PFAS in Apparel and Related Products

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The AFIRM group, an international collaboration of brands, manufacturers, and suppliers in the fashion industry, has published new phaseout guidance for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in apparel, footwear, accessories, and related products. PFAS are synthetic chemicals known for their persistence in the environment and potential long-term health effects.

The purpose of the document is to provide a common approach and definition for the phaseout of PFAS from materials used in the production of fashion items. It includes guidelines for supply chain communication, documentation, and laboratory testing to ensure the elimination of PFAS.

PFAS, often referred to as "forever chemicals," are resistant to degradation and can persist in the environment for extended periods. They have been linked to various health effects, even at low levels of exposure. Due to their persistence and potential hazards, authorities worldwide are increasingly regulating PFAS as a class of chemicals.

The AFIRM guidance defines PFAS as fluorinated substances containing fully fluorinated methyl or methylene carbon atoms. It aligns with the broadest possible interpretation of PFAS to ensure compliance with various regulations globally.

The publication highlights the need for collaboration and international efforts to eliminate PFAS from the fashion industry. While individual AFIRM member brands may have their own policies and expectations regarding PFAS elimination, the phaseout guidance provides a harmonized approach for the entire value chain.

To implement the phaseout, the guidance recommends that brands communicate their intention to eliminate PFAS to their suppliers and prioritize identifying materials and products that may contain PFAS. It also encourages suppliers to seek alternatives to PFAS-based finishes and treatments.

The document provides a recommended testing approach that combines two analytical methods for PFAS analysis. It also lists industry resources and certification schemes that can help identify PFAS-free materials and chemicals.

By following the AFIRM phaseout guidance, brands, manufacturers, and suppliers in the fashion industry can demonstrate their commitment to eliminating PFAS from their products and contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion sector.

The AFIRM phaseout guidance is a significant step towards reducing the presence of "forever chemicals" in the apparel industry, promoting safer and more sustainable products for consumers.

Link to AFIRM Phase out guidance on PFAS


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