But why are PFCs so bad for us?
The full extent of their detrimental effects isn’t appreciated yet, but what we do know is that they are extremely persistent chemicals both in the environment and in human tissue. A recent study has linked these chemicals to serious damage to the immune system in children. [Grandjean et al, 2012]. In additional there is documented incidence of cancer associated with PFC pollution [Bonefeld-Jorgensen et al, 2011] and compromised female fertility associated with PFC blood levels in women – delayed time to conception [Fei et al, 2009]. All of which are quite worrying effects.
Nick Brown, founder of Nikwax, said,
“For years Nikwax has been providing PFC-free high performance aftercare to the world outdoor market, and has attained a world leading position with its technology. We all know that the original water-repellent treatments, PFC or otherwise, need to be replaced because of wear and abrasion after a year or so, and Nikwax does that job very well, easily and safely. Now, justifiable pressure from environmental campaigners is going to drive PFC treatments from the marketplace, first in Europe, and then in the rest of the world. There is both an opportunity and a threat. It is a great opportunity for those who adopt the PFC-free technology quickly and a huge threat for those that will get left behind. Overall, the pressure to remove PFCs from our environment will stimulate exciting new developments, and bring innovative new technology; Nikwax wants to be part of that renewal process.”
Norway is soon to abstain from the C8 variant of PFCs – commonly used in outdoor gear - maybe we could try for lent and just keep going. Here’s hoping the UK follows suit.