Monday, November 11, 2019

PFC / PFAS Free Winter Gear For Kids and Parents

The challenge:  to find PFAS  free winter gear for the family- from kids to adults.  

The reason:   the majority of winter gear companies  (as well as sleeping bags, tents and even lunch boxes like the carry cases for the beloved Planet Box lunch boxes) still use  Perfluorocarbons  (PFAS also called PFCs) in their "DWR (durable water repellent) base for treating their fabrics and making them repel moisture.

PFAS, or PFC chemicals are fluorinated compounds, which are linked to testicular and kidney cancer, thyroid disease, obesity, weakened immunity and other health problems.

"PFC-laced runoff from a DuPont's manufacturing plant was blamed for major birth defects and other health issues in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  The consequences of PFC bioaccumulation are so serious that 200 scientists signed the Madrid Statement to express concern over the continued production and release of PFCs."  (

Many companies have pledged to stop using PFAS/ PFC in the coming years, but many (I recently confirmed North Face, Gap and Patagonia models) are still using PFAS/PFC based DWR.

How to recognize if a product has added PFAS chemicals
Unfortunately this is not always easy to do.   More often than not companies are very vague and do not tell you what contains added PFAS/PFC chemicals and what does not.

Generally, if a textile product claims to be 'water resistant' or 'stain resistant,'  it is worth looking into a bit more since more often than not this will mean PFAS chemicals have been added.  Send questions to customer service specifically asking :  "How does your jacket achieve water repellency?  Does it use a C6 DWR or other Perfluorocarbons ?"

Generally if you see the words 'DWR' that usually means that a C6 PFAS chemical has been added (but not always).  Also, usually, a jacket that is water resistant/ repellant that DOES NOT contain PFAS/ PFC will specify this in the description
most coats that do not use PFAS/PFC will specify they do not use these chemicals in the description



  • Jack Wolfskin

Jack Wolfskin  this year (as of spring/summer 2019) achieved their sustainability goal  and now all their clothing items, packs and bags are completely 100% PFC-free  .  These are available in Europe and in my Amazon Store

Polarn O. Pyret
"All Polarn O. Pyret’s outerwear with water repellent abilities are completely free of sealers containing perfluorinated compounds, known as PFCs. The outer garments are treated with a PFC-free substance to maintain the same water repellent function."

Their insulated Accessories are " Insulated with Primaloft Gold ECO Insulation and PFC-free waterproofing."

Some of their kids jackets and snowsuits are already PFC free (see my Amazon shop for specific models).  The company as a whole has "  committed to 100% PFC-Free Durable Water Repellency (DWR) due to the lasting and uncertain impacts of PFCs on the environment"  by 2020"

all Hummel Children’s clothing  are not only 100% PFC-free but are also OEKO-TEX® certified

Vaude (not available in the US)
"All products feature EcoFinish water repellency that is fluorocarbon-free (PFC-free). In addition, VAUDE Children’s Apparel meets the Green Shape criteria for eco-friendly products – made from sustainable materials, with resource saving manufacturing and in fair production conditions."

Fjällräven's entire line has been PFC-free since 2015.  Instead, they use a proprietary blend of beeswax and paraffin.

North Face
While they are still using PFAS based DWR, their  Apex+ ETip lines come with The North Face's new non-fluorinated DWR softshell fabric, called ClimateBlock.  It is not recommended for wet snow sports, but is ok for everyday winter wear.

Columbia OutDry Extreme
Their OutDry Extreme, which debuted in 2017, " relies on a different mechanism, rubberizing the membrane to protect it and prevent moisture penetration. To make sure it still breathes the membrane has thousands of tiny pores that allow water vapor on the inside to escape. The design also ditches the glue needed to stick other membranes together, since that can slow down moisture transfer, instead fusing the soft lining to the shell with heat."  Not all Columbia jackets are PFC free


What other household products commonly contain PFAS chemicals?
As a reminder these other products commonly have PFAS chemicals added 
- drinking water: make sure your filtration system filters PFAS out.
- non-stick kitchen pans and products
- carpeting
- stain resistant upholstery fabric (sometimes referred to as "performance fabric) 
- outdoor rugs and furniture
- backpacks and lunchboxes (including the beloved Planet Box carry bag .  Their wrap is a better alternative) 
- dental floss
- fast food packaging and many pizza boxes, microwavable popcorn bags
- car seats and strollers:   All 2020 models of Bumbleride strollers have confirmed to be PFAS free 

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