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Highly fluorinated substances found in repellents

6 out of 20 repellents for shoes and textiles contain high levels of highly flourinated hazardous substances(PFCs), a new study by The Swedish Water & Wastewater Association, SWWA, shows. The organisation have tested products aimed at consumers and concludes that highly fluorinated substances can be found in a wide range of products, including table cloths, baking pans, micro popcorn bags, pizza boxes, dental floss, cardboard and repellents. These extremely persistent substances are used because of their grease and water repellent properties, which have lead to a widespread occurrence in nature, animals and humans. Highly fluorinated substances are among those that are the least biodegradable in the natural environment. In the very same report, SWWA tested for PFCs in humans. Both test subjects had traces of it in their blood according to the analysis, well above the detections limits, even though none of them had been exposed to unusual levels of these substances.

SWWA expects that the Swedish government take notice of the report, and aims to accelerate the work towards a group restriction of PFCs/highly fluorinated substances in consumer products in the EU already next year. SWWA also asks the Swedish retailers to voluntary phase out 99% of their products containing PFCs until 2018.

– The first step is to phase out PFCs from consumer products. It’s not sustainable to have these substances surrounding us in our every day life if we are to have clean lakes and seas in the future, says Anders Finnson, environmental expert at SWAA.

Read the report Pfasa ut Pfas (in Swedish)

ChemSec’s Textile Guide – A tool for textile companies looking to substitute hazardous chemicals