Fluorochemicals should be removed from waterproof clothing, study argues

Fluorochemicals used in waterproof clothing to repel rain are unnecessary, damaging, and should be removed, textile researchers have argued.

New research by academics from Leeds and Stockholm has found that waterproof clothes using fluorochemicals are over-engineered, providing protection against oil and other stains when they need only resist rainwater.

The findings, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, said that manufacturers can easily make use of alternatives used in durable water repellents, which also offer long-term ecological benefits.

Dr Richard Blackburn, head of the Sustainable Materials Research Group at the University of Leeds’ School of Design, said: ‘Environmentally-friendly and biodegradable solutions are available, but are being resisted by some manufacturers and retailers.’

The researchers do not know the reason why manufacturers are ignoring these alternatives, but have speculated that it is due to a lack of information and research, as well as a lack of engagement with consumers.

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