In a report published at the end of last year, Greenpeace called on the Outdoor Industry to take action to remove fluorocarbons and other harmful substances from their gear. Fluorocarbons or PFCs, used in the textile finishing of outdoor gear to make them water, dirt, and oil repellent, is a hormone disruptor (like BPA) and toxic to aquatic organisms. It appears the industry has listened and is starting to take action. Both Schoeller and Gear Aid are now offering more eco-friendly water proofing alternatives, Ecorepel and ReviveX respectively.
Schoeller Ecorepel is an environment-friendly, PFC-free, water and dirt repelling treatment that is biodegradable, as well as abrasion and wash resistant. The technology is based on long paraffin chains that wrap themselves spiral-like around individual fibers, filaments or yarns in a very fine film. This reduces surface tension so that water droplets and even mud simply run off. The breathability of the fabric is not affected.
Gear Aid’s aftermarket ReviveX Durable Waterproofing ($8.50-$13.50) can be used to both bring back or create water repellency on any type of outerwear. Your outdoor jackets come factory-treated with Durable Water Repellent (DWR). Over time, it wears off, leaving you at the mercy of the weather.
ReviveX bonds to the fabric to restore water resistance, without impacting breathability. To activate, simply spray the water-based formula on your garments, tumble dry, then enjoy your waterproof gear.
Back in April, German outdoor brand Jack Wolfskin published a detailed and transparent roadmap for the complete phase-out of PFCs and other hazardous textile chemicals in its supply chain by 2020. This effort coincides with the company's new branding, revealed at the OutDoor Show this week.
I am sure many other brands will be following suit in their reduction on the reliance of PFC based waterproofing technologies.