Key mountain brands such as North Face, Patagonia and Mammut talk the talk of love and appreciation for the environment? So why do they and other well known ski brands still use pollutants and do not walk the walk?
Greenpeace have just carried out intensive lab tests on 40 mountain gear products including jackets, ski pants, backpacks and sleeping bags and found unacceptable levels of PFCs (Perfluorinated chemicals) among major brands aimed at the outdoor market and claiming environmental empathy. Paramo, the UK brand, (kit shown main image, above) is one of the few to be acknowledged by Greenpeace as totally chemical free and detoxed.
In their mission to rid manufacturing of pollutants, Greenpeace have recently tested 40 items of mountain kit for PFCs (Perfluorinated compound chemicals).
Greenpeace initially asked the public which products they wanted tested. With more than 30,000 votes from outdoor lovers around the world, they chose the top 40 products to send to an independent lab for testing. And, at ISPO in Munich, Greenpeace announced the results.
While UK brand, Páramo ,has been applauded by Greenpeace for total commitment to Detox, the first outdoor brand to have already eliminated PFC from its entire production chain, showing that high-performance PFC-free gear is possible, other well-known mountain kit producers have fallen well short of Greenpeace's ideals.
PFCs were found in all but four of the products tested. One or more PFC was detected in material from 36 of the 40 articles though the PFC concentrations and the composition of the PFCs present varied greatly between individual articles.
The four products that did not contain PFCs were: two jackets – by Vaude and Jack Wolfskin) which was the only item labelled as ‘PFC free’; one backpack by Haglöfs and the one sample of gloves by the North Face. PFCs were detected in all of the shoes, trousers, tents and sleeping bags, in 9 of the 11 jackets and in 7 of the 8 backpacks. Volatile PFCs dominated the samples by concentration in jackets, trousers, footwear and sleeping bags and in a rope.
In 18 items, Greenpeace found high concentrations of the more hazardous long-chain PFCs, even though most of the brands tested claim publicly that they are no longer using them. They, also, found PFOA, a long-chain PFC that is linked to a number of health effects, including cancer, in some products by The North Face and Mammut.
Check out the full report on PDF here.
'These brands are not walking their talk of love and appreciation for the environment when it comes to the chemicals they use in their production chains,' according to Mirjam Kopp, Detox Outdoor Global Project Lead for Greenpeace Switzerland.
She continues, 'What concerns Greenpeace about these substances is that they degrade very slowly in the environment and enter the food chain, making the pollution almost irreversible. We have found them in very remote areas of the planet, and they have already been detected in animals like dolphins, in polar bears’ livers and even in human blood.
'Together with the outdoor community, we are challenging brands to show us what respecting nature really means: stop using toxic chemicals and Detox your gear!'