Or, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances - you can choose

PFAS: Pretty Freaking Awful Stuff

Science

What is PFAS?

PFAS, are synthetic man-made chemicals that have been used since the 1950's. They are otherwise known as "forever chemicals" because they do not breakdown, so stay in the environment and can build up in the bodies of humans and animals and even in plants (1). The most well-known PFAS is probably Teflon. Yep, the OG nonstick coating, otherwise known as PTFE. Most likely you've heard of how when Teflon starts to peel off or chip from our pans it can be bad, but this is just one of thousands of PFAS chemicals.

Where is PFAS found? And why?

PFAS chemicals are used in non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing and outdoor gear, stain resistant fabrics and furnishings, some cosmetics, firefighting foams, food packaging, building materials, and has many other industrial uses. While some things like waterproof camping gear might seem a more obvious application of their stain and water repellent properties, other things like food packaging might be a little less obvious, but not when you realize why. It would be super annoying if your cheesy pizza seeps oil through the paper take-out box. So, the manufacturers coat or make products with PFAS to make them more durable and convenient. So, any time you think about a raincoat, or a cardboard-looking take-out container that seems impervious to oil, or even a stain-resistant fabric that somehow won't stain even if you smear ketchup on it, think of your old, wonky, chipping nonstick pan.

Because PFAS is used in so many different products, there are lots of ways for the chemicals to spread throughout our environment. The three main ways are through manufacturing releases, runoff from fighting fires (more on this later), and as it escapes or chips off of PFAS-containing products. This means these chemicals are often found in our waterways, soil, air, and drinking water as well.

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Life

Snow Jackets with PFC-Free DWR

Stay warm and dry on the slopes without the harmful chemicals

Updated for 2021!

A lot of weather-proof jackets contain harmful forever chemicals otherwise known as PFC or PFAS. That's why we found the best winter and ski jackets that are waterproof with PFC-free Durable Water Repellent (DWR) for your next trip to the mountains! DWR is a coating added to fabrics to make them water-resistant. The traditional DWR treatments were made of PFAS chemicals that wear off over time, leaving these chemicals to pollute the great outdoors and wherever else you are. In fact most jackets will say that they need re-treatment at some point in their life. That's why we are so excited that the outdoor industry has started to use DWR without PFAS chemicals. Usually you will see them labeled as PFC-free DWR. A couple of years ago, there were almost no jackets without PFCs, so we are happy to have found so many PFC-free DWR jackets. These jackets will keep you nice and warm without these pesky forever chemicals coatings slowly wearing off.

But, there is something a little bit tricky. We can't say that all of these jackets are completely PFC-free. Durable water repellents are commonly used in conjunction with a waterproof membrane, which is basically a waterproof fabric. Waterproof membranes are oftentimes made with PFAS (PFC) chemicals like Teflon, the most famous of which is GORE-TEX. While GORE-TEX has recently announced that they have a PFC free waterproof membrane in the works, they have not committed to phasing out their current PFC materials. We note below which jackets still use a GORE-TEX membrane and urge companies and consumers to push for completely PFC-free products in the future. If you would like a jacket completely free of PFCs, please read the notes below.

a) The North Face Powderflo Jacket Women's and Powderflo Jacket Men's

b) Marmot Spire Jacket (This jacket has a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) but is still made with a GORE-TEX membrane that is made of PTFE, aka Teflon.)

c) Paramo clothing Women's Jackets and Men's Jackets

d) Picture Women's Weekend Jacket and Men's Styler Jacket

e) Fjallraven Bergtagen Eco-Shell Jacket Women's⁠ and Bergtagen Eco-Shell Jacket Men's

f) Jack Wolfskin Winter Jackets

g) REI Co-op First Chair Jacket (This jacket has a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) but is still made with a GORE-TEX membrane that is made of PTFE, aka Teflon.)

h) Burton Jackets (This jacket has a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) but is still made with a GORE-TEX membrane that is made of PTFE, aka Teflon.)

i) Houdini Women's Rollercoaster Jacket and Men's Weekend Jacket (Bluesign®-certified, PFC free membrane and PFC free DWR)

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