Manufacturer Gore-Tex Announces Availability of New Membrane Without PFAS, But Still Uses “Chemicals Forever” to Make Outdoor Clothing and Gear
Health advocates call for ban of PFAS ‘chemicals forever’ in products
Seattle, WA – After decades of providing waterproof exterior materials using PFAS chemicals, Gore, the maker of GORE-TEX®, today announcement close to these chemicals. Gore will offer a new option for the key membrane that provides waterproofing for its consumer outerwear. The new membrane is made without PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), but GORE-TEX® items usually have a second waterproofing treatment, a surface coating known as durable water repellency (DWR) made of PFAS. The first products using this new PFAS-free membrane will be available for purchase in late 2022. The new membrane technology, called ePE by Gore, is an alternative to the company’s ePTFE membrane, which is made with PFAS, also known as the name “forever Chemicals. “Gore has yet to publicly commit to eliminating all PFASs from GORE-TEX manufacturing.® or in DWR treatments used on GORE-TEX products.
“Although this is a step in the right direction, it is not enough” said Mike Schade, director of Mind the Store, a Toxic-Free Future program. “Without a commitment to ban PFAS as a class in all of its products, Gore will continue to contribute to PFAS pollution. Major brands and retailers must act quickly to reduce and eliminate all PFAS, including membranes and surface coatings, in outerwear and other textiles. There is no reason for companies like REI and Dick’s Sporting Goods to continue selling products made with nondescript chemicals that contaminate communities and the environment around the world.
“We have known for years that PFAS is not required for our rain gear and now Gore’s new product will provide another alternative for businesses. ” said Laurie Valeriano, Executive Director of Toxic-Free Future. “The increasing contamination of people and breast milk from the use of these chemicals in our clothes and other products must stop. We urge governments to ban the widespread use of PFAS, starting in Washington State and ending in Washington DC. “
BACKGROUND TO PFAS
Chemical companies sell PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) to be applied to paper and textiles as stain, water and grease repellents. A growing body of Scientific Research has found links between PFAS exposures and a wide range of health problems, including a weaker immune system, cancer, increased cholesterol levels, pregnancy-induced hypertension, liver damage, reduced fertility and an increased risk of thyroid disease. PFAS are often referred to as “forever” chemicals because they are not known to decompose in the environment and can easily travel through soil to drinking water. With remarkable persistence and mobility, PFAS have become global pollutants that threaten the health of people and wildlife. A recent peer review to study by Toxic-Free Future found PFAS in 100% of breast milk samples tested and new PFAS accumulate in people.
State governments are taking legislative and regulatory action to phase out PFAS in products to prevent contamination in favor of safer alternatives. For example, ME and Western Australian laws have given state agencies the power to ban PFAS in a wide range of products. CT, ME, MN, NY, VT and WA have adopted the phase-out of PFAS in food packaging. The VT and ME have adopted bans on PFAS in carpets, rugs and aftermarket treatments and regulatory action is underway for these products and other home textiles (e.g. upholstery, bedding) in California and WA. CO, CA, CT, NY, NH, ME and WA have implemented bans on the sale of fire extinguisher foam containing PFAS.
Federal legislation to protect communities and ban PFAS in several product sectors has been or should be introduced.
Retailers are increasingly adopting safer chemical policies to reduce or eliminate PFAS in key product sectors, including textiles, according to annual report Retailer report card published by the Mind the Store program of Toxic-Free Future.
A TOXIC-FREE FUTURE
Future without toxic products (TFF) is a non-profit research and advocacy organization that advances the use of safer products, chemicals and practices through science, organization, advocacy and advocacy. consumer engagement to ensure a healthier future. Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is a Toxic-Free Future program dedicated to building strong federal policies that protect the public from toxic chemicals. Watch out for the store is a Toxic-Free Future program that challenges retailers to phase out toxic chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives, and notes major retailers on their safer chemicals policies in an annual report Retailer report card.
CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Stéphanie Stohler, communications director, [email protected]