With the very welcome addition of Nudie Jeans and Isadora, ChemSec’s PFAS Movement now holds over 30 different brands that collectively say no to PFAS! This is a great milestone, especially considering the initiative hasn’t even existed for one full year yet.
ChemSec started the PFAS Movement last spring because we recognise that citizens and public interest groups are not the only voices needed in the debate about toxic PFAS chemicals – businesses are equally important.
All the brands that have joined the movement share the same ultimate goal: policy makers should regulate PFAS efficiently, and take away the possibility for manufacturers to simply swap one regulated PFAS chemical for an unregulated “cousin”.
“Policy makers should regulate PFAS efficiently, and take away the possibility for manufacturers to simply swap one regulated PFAS chemical for an unregulated ‘cousin’.”
“Our strategy is to keep growing the movement and show policy makers that many companies have a strong dedication to move away from PFAS in products and supply chains. But they need help. Stronger PFAS legislation will not only be an incentive for the global supply chain to stop using these harmful chemicals, it will also stimulate innovation of safer alternatives”, says Dr. Jonatan Kleimark at ChemSec.
So, what are PFAS chemicals exactly and why are they so bad? Well, PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a chemical family consisting of almost 5,000 industrially produced chemicals, favoured for their durability and properties such as non-stick, water repellence and anti-grease. PFAS can be found in a variety of products, including cosmetics, food packaging, frying pans, outdoor gear and firefighting foam.
“Studies on humans have found links between PFAS exposure and a number of health disorders”
Sounds great, right? The problem is that PFAS don’t degrade. These “forever chemicals” are extremely persistent and can remain for hundreds, or even thousands, of years.
Over the last decades, the industrial use of PFAS has been so widespread that 99% of every living human, including foetuses, have measurable levels of PFAS in their bloodstreams.
Not only are they persistent – they are toxic. Studies on humans have found links between PFAS exposure and a number of health disorders, including various cancers, lowered birth weights and negative effects on the immune system.
There are many issues with PFAS, but the single largest problem is that – with very few exceptions – they are perfectly legal to use. This means that the brands and retailers who want to phase them out of their products often have a hard time making their case in the global supply chain and find safer alternatives. As long as there is no restriction in place banning the use of ALL PFAS, suppliers will continue to use these highly effective chemicals.
Change won’t come easy. It will require policy makers to make some uncomfortable decisions that won’t go down well with companies relying on PFAS today.
But the growing PFAS Movement shows that there are many companies on the other side of the fence – and one brand’s loss is another brand’s gain.
“The growing PFAS Movement shows that there are many companies on the other side of the fence”