Reacting to recent concerns over PFAS being detected in incontinence underwear (not made using our
fabrics) AKASTEX would like to state that we do not use PFOS or PFOA in any of our manufacturing.
PFOS and PFOA are commonly used in non-stick and stain/water repellant finishes and some waterproof films and have been known to be toxic and harmful for quite some time now. The most well known ones were ScotchGuard by 3M (using PFOS) and Teflon (C8, using PFOA).
So, what are PFAS? PFAS are Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, these include perfluoro octane sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and others. These fluorinated compounds are used in a wide variety of consumer goods including stain resistant upholstery & carpets, nonstick cookware, paints, coatings and many more goods. In the textile world they are used in water-repellent finishes on fabrics. Detailed information is available on the EPA website – https://www.epa.gov/pfas
PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. Certain PFAS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States as a result of phase outs including the PFOA Stewardship Program by the EPA in which eight major chemical manufacturers agreed to eliminate the use of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals in their products and as emissions from their facilities. Although PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the United States, they are still produced internationally and can be imported into the United States in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber and plastics. You can read the entire EPA actions at this link – https://www.epa.gov/pfas/epa-actions-address-pfas
PFAS in textiles? In the Textile industry the water and stain repellant finishes used on fabrics were made using PFOS and PFOA. This included the well-known brands like ScotchGuard by 3M and Teflon by Dupont. As part of the PFOA Stewardship program companies like Dupont and 3M committed to eliminate the use of PFOA and developed newer technologies. We have been following the developments since 2010.
We are very conscious of the health, safety and environmental impacts of chemicals used in the manufacture of our fabrics. The effects of these chemicals on the environment were of great concern, because they are said to be non-degradable and can be extremely harmful to people and the environment. There are potential health and safety concerns with both PFOS and PFOA. Both are toxic and PFOA has been identified by risk assessment studies as being consistent with the category of a “likely carcinogen”.
Our waterproof fabrics do not use fluorocarbons. Waterproofing is done by using thin films or coatings attached to the back of fabrics to prevent water from passing through. Our waterproof PUL is made by bonding a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) film on to a fabric – either polyester, cotton or bamboo/cotton. Some fabrics use PTFE films (GORE-TEX® is the best-known branded membrane and is made using PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) that contain fluorocarbons. We do not use GORE-TEX, we use PU film made by Bayer.
Water Repellant Fabrics: We do not use the Teflon products that contained PFOA on any of our fabrics. Dupont has already eliminated the use of the PFOA (C8) in its products. We have been using the newer Teflon Fabric Shield that does not contain PFOA. However, over the past few months we have been experimenting with the new plant-based finishes from renewable resources like DetraPel and Teflon EcoElite™.
Teflon EcoElite™ finish is a bio-based and non-fluorinated stain repellent technology that repels water and water-based stains. The finish can be applied to a variety of fabrics without impacting feel or breathability.
DetraPel® is a water-based repellent solution free of harmful fluorochemicals like PFOS and PFOA. DetraPel® creates an invisible barrier that protects the fibers from damage caused by a variety of substances.
It is considered that all the PFAS produced are virtually indestructible, we cannot help with what has been done in the past, but we can do our little bit by keeping our fabrics free from them.
At AKAS Tex we are very conscious of our environment and try to keep away from using known toxic substances.
Want to know more?