Hidden in Plain Sight

Poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in the air of outdoor stores

Publication - 13 July, 2016
A recent investigation by Greenpeace has found hazardous poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in the indoor air of stores selling outdoor gear in Europe and East Asia. Samples were taken in the flagship stores of the brands Mammut, The North Face, Norrona and Haglöfs and in non-branded outdoor stores. The results show that concentrations of PFCs in the air in outdoor stores in Europe were 20 to 60 times higher than air samples collected in Greenpeace’s office and storage rooms in Hamburg and up to 1000 times higher than urban outdoor air; concentrations of PFCs in outdoor stores in Taiwan were in the same range as those in Europe. PFCs in significant concentrations were found in the flagship stores of all companies.

In previous reports, Greenpeace has found the presence of per and poly-PFCs in waterproof outdoor gear including jackets and trousers, shoes, sleeping bags, backpacks, tents, in leather gloves, and in swimwear. These studies investigated a range of PFCs, such as ionic per-fluorinated chemicals, as well as volatile per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals. In this study the air sampling found volatile poly-fluorinated chemicals, mainly fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOH), which are becoming increasingly common as substitutes for ionic PFCs in outdoor clothes and readily evaporate into the air.

This report was produced by Greenpeace Germany and is available in English below.

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Hidden in Plain Sight: Poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in the air of outdoor stores

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