Environmental and consumer protection groups have raised awareness of this issue, so you’ve probably been hearing more and more about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) over the years.
PFAS is no joke. a certain level of risk Can increase your risk of prostate, kidney and testicular cancer, weaken your immune system, and cause pregnancy and birth complications, among other health harms.
The scary part is, PFAS is everywhere—in your clothing, in your food, in your cookware, and maybe even in your water, and it can easily enter your body through consumption or extended skin contact.
In all likelihood, your body probably already has low levels of PFAS, and since PFAS are “forever chemicals,” they take a very long time to break down and probably won’t leave your body.
But this does not mean that it is not worth it to prevent further exposure.
Environmental and consumer protection groups are increasing pressure on all types of companies to stop using PFAS, or at least clarify their use of PFAS.
a new report by consumer protection non-profit US PIRG looked at the use of PFAS by 30 top US-based clothing companies, and detailed who is using them and who is not.
“As a major user of PFAS, the apparel industry can play a key role in closing the tap on PFAS pollution,” the US PIRG wrote in its report.
The US PIRG classified companies based on their timelines for the PFAS phaseout, the range of products covered by their PFAS policy, the public availability of their PFAS commitments, and their PFAS labeling and testing protocols.
The report begins by praising the brands Levi Strauss & Co., Victoria’s Secret, Keane Footwear and Decker for making UGG, Teva and others to completely eliminate the use of PFAS in their clothing.
The report also noted that other companies have clear, time-bound commitments to phasing out all PFAS from their apparel, including American Eagle, Ralph Lauren, Gap Inc., and brands such as PVH, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Speedo. parent company of . , and Patagonia.
Still, US PIRG pointed out, most US-based clothing companies have a weak commitment when it comes to eliminating PFAS from their products.
Of the 30 apparel brands and retailers surveyed, 18 brands and retailers received a grade of D or less.
The report noted that some of these companies did not have a publicly available commitment to eliminate any PFAS, while others only pledged to eliminate PFOA and PFOS, two PFAS chemicals that have previously been It has been taken out of use in the US itself.
These brands include Macy’s, Walmart, Skechers and Wolverine, the parent company of Hush Puppies, Keds, Merrell, Stride Right and others.
Notably, the report said, clothing companies that manufacture outerwear are lagging behind in eliminating PFAS from their clothing.
The report noted that REI, L.L. Bean, and the parent company of VF Corp., The North Face, Timberland, ZenSport, and others received grades of D or F for unfinished commitments that did not cover only certain PFAS. Was there or was a long time frame for the phaseout.
Additionally, the report said, many companies use outdated, incorrect or misleading definitions of PFAS in their commitments and communications about PFAS, which can lead to confusion among consumers that a product contains PFAS. Or not.
For example, the report states, if companies’ products contain any PFAS, they should stop using the “PFC-free of environmental concern” label, as it falsely suggests that some PFAS are of environmental concern. Subjects are not.
The US PIRG concluded its report with a list of recommendations to clothing retailers, policymakers and consumers regarding PFAS.
It said that textile companies should publicly commit to a time-bound phase-out of all added PFAS to their apparel, label any product containing PFAS as PFAS, and ask industry trade associations for their membership in these. Recommendations should be urged to be adopted.
It encouraged the federal and state governments to ban all PFASs in consumer apparel and require the labeling of products with PFASs until all uses are phased out.
Finally, the US PIRG suggests urging consumer lawmakers and their favorite brands to act to eliminate PFAS.
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