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Most tested waterproof outdoor gear contains cancer-causing chemicals: Greenpeace

Last Updated Jan 26, 2016 at 7:05 am PDT

(Source: greenpeace.org)
Summary

Greenpeace study finds high concentrations of PFCs in jackets, backpacks from brands like North Face, Patagonia

MONTREAL – Greenpeace says most of the waterproof outdoor gear it tested contained cancer-causing contaminants and is calling on manufacturers to stop using them.

The environmental group has released a study that it says found high concentrations of PFCs (per and poly-fluorinated chemicals) in jackets, tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags.

The products are made by such outdoor brands as North Face, Arc’Teryx, Patagonia, Mammut, and Columbia.

Greenpeace says only four of the 40 items tested didn’t contain the chemical believed to be dangerous to human health and the environment and notes none of the PCF-free products are available in Canada.

North Face is testing alternatives and has set a goal to remove PFCs from all clothing materials by 2020, although that would be three years later than Greenpeace is seeking.

Vancouver-based Arc’Teryx says while alternatives are imperfect, they are “a step in the right direction.”

Patagonia says it has found some other options lose their effectiveness and have shorter lifespans, which is a concern because every replacement garment comes with its own environmental cost.