GORE-TEX製造商WL Gore & Associates投資超過1,500萬美元，在未來五年內，研發可替代的耐久性潑水處理(Durable water repellent，簡稱DWR)。
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Gore-Tex company seeks alternative water repellent materialsOutdoor clothing brand, WL Gore & Associates, is investing $15m in research to find alternative durable water repellent (DWR) materials.
The company aims to find alternatives to the short-chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), currently used in its fabrics.
According to Bernhard Kiehl, leader of Gore Fabric's sustainability programme, both fluorinated and non-fluorinated materials will be considered in its new DWR initiative.
Gore, the manufacturer of Gore-Tex(R) fabric, has been exploring alternative DWR treatments since 2013, amid concerns about PFCs.
Long-chain PFCs are the subject of an EPA action plan and have been voluntarily phased out by many companies. However, debate continues over the environmental and human health effects of short-chain PFC alternatives.
US-based NGO, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said that “EPA records contain disturbing indications that some of the new [short-chain] PFCs are as hazardous as their predecessors.”
However, Mr Kiehl said: “We disagree with claims that short-chain PFCs are harmful", provided they are used "responsibly".
He noted that Gore's materials are not significant sources of PFCs in the environment and that the company goes “to great lengths” to avoid their emissions, through the use of environmental control methods.
The company claims to have been among the first, in the outdoor industry, to completely eliminate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) - a long-chain PFC - from raw materials used in the manufacturing process.
However, non-fluorinated polymer solutions, including hydrocarbon and wax-based technologies, have not yet met the company's durability standards, it says.
“During our tests, the non-fluorinated DWR treatment completely failed after only a short time of field use,” said John P Cusick, Gore's global business leader of consumer garments.
Several major fashion brands – including Adidas, Puma and H&M – have pledged to phase out PFCs.
However, outdoor brands have been “noticeably absent” in committing to initiatives like the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), according to the EWG.
The Greenpeace Detox campaign has called on textile companies to “urgently phase out any use and discharge” of PFCs, due to their persistence, bio-accumulation and toxicity.
According to the EWG, textiles account for half of US consumption of PFCs. The compounds are also used in non-stick cookware, food packaging, and in a variety of industries for their friction-reducing properties.
Original Article: Chemical Watch