A recent study by Greenpeace reports on levels of perfluorinated compounds (also known as PFCs) used in the production of outdoor apparel. PFCs are bio-persistent chemicals that are linked to a range of human health problems (see selected bibliography for studies). Many companies use PFCs to add water repellent finishes to apparel and gear.

Nikwax has been arguing against the use of fluorocarbon chemicals (PFCs) in aftercare products for over ten years. We have highlighted their environmentally persistent nature, and the studies linking them to reduced fertility, damaged immune systems in children and other negative health impacts.

In the industry, a so called “C8” chemistry to define PFCs is considered harmful. More commonly, we hear that a “C6” version is safer. At Nikwax, we have not seen any convincing evidence to support this. And, in line with the recommendations of the Greenpeace report, we will continue to exclude ALL (including C6) PFCs from our products.

We would like to reassure our customers, dealers and industry partners that NONE of the products in the Nikwax aftercare range contain PFCs of any kind. Most PFCs used in the industry until now have been based on so called “C8” chemistry. It is now common to hear the argument that shorter PFCs, such as the “C6” versions are safe. At Nikwax we have not seen any convincing evidence of this, and in line with the recommendations of the Greenpeace report, we will continue to exclude C6 PFCs from our products.

Many look to “eco labels” to determine the chemical safety of products. Greenpeace warns us of the dangers in assuming an “eco label” automatically means PFC-free. Most of the common standards do not currently prohibit the use of PFCs.

Part of the Greenpeace report calls on the Outdoor Industry to find immediate alternatives to PFCs. The good news is that alternatives exist because PFCs are not necessary to achieve high standards of effective waterproofing. All Nikwax waterproofing products are a safer alternative.

Please view our environmental page for detailed information. Feel free to write us with any questions or concerns.

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