Outdoor wear often coated in harmful chemicals: Greenpeace

Oct 29, 2012

Outdoor clothing from top manufacturers is frequently contaminated with chemicals that are harmful to health and the environment, Greenpeace warned Monday.

The environmental group said in a study that the materials that make many clothing items useful in wind, rain and snow are also toxic.

"Images of pristine nature are often used for advertising . But nature does not remain untouched by the chemicals in weather-resistant fabrics," it said.

"All over the world, from secluded mountain lakes and Arctic polar ice to deep in the oceans, traces can be found of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs), pollutants with properties that are harmful to the environment and health."

Greenpeace said it had tested 14 rain jackets and rain trousers for women and children from top brands such as Jack Wolfskin, Vaude, North Face, Marmot, Patagonia and Adidas for PFCs and found that each sample was contaminated.

It said that some PFCs were known endocrine disruptors and harmful to the reproductive system.

"Most brand name manufacturers use PFCs so that we stay dry in our outdoor wear, inside and outside," said.

"But these man-made compounds of carbon and fluorine are so stable that they can hardly be removed from the environment, if at all."

The group launched its international Detox campaign in 2011 calling on textile manufacturers to replace used in production with safe alternatives, and on governments to step up regulation.

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