No health risk for users of GORE-TEX Products
Feldkirchen-Westerham, 12 December 2013 – In its latest report, Greenpeace mentions “potential air pollution in rooms for consumers”. An assumption that this poses a risk for consumers or the environment has not been supported by scientific data. One of the studies Greenpeace cites as evidence – Schlummer et al. – concludes: “However, indoor air-related intakes of FTOH are far below the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of PFOA, indicating that there is no risk to health, even when assuming an unrealistic complete degradation of FTOH into PFOA”. For more than 20 years Gore delivers safe products that protect users and it is our commitment to act responsibly with regard to environmental protection by carefully choosing our suppliers and ingredients without compromising on the durability and lifetime of products.
The study also does not prove too that trace amounts of short chain DWR or PTFE membranes in a GORE-TEX outdoor jacket would cause a significant adverse environmental impact. One of the substances Greenpeace refers to in its report is PFOA. Interestingly the organization acknowledges in their summary that the industry has made some progress on removing PFOA. Specifically, in the tested GORE-TEX jackets and gloves PFOA is not detectable or well below the globally strictest legal limit that the government of Norway recently announced to go in effect by June of next year (1 µg/m²). This is further proof of our environmental responsibility program that will eliminate PFOA from our raw materials by the end of 2013 without compromising on the performance people have come to expect from our products.
In our view, Greenpeace’s call for replacing all fluorinated DWR will likely result in less performing and shorter lasting products. Not only a broad range of users like mountaineers, fire fighters and police forces will no longer get the protection they rely on, but a shortend life of the jacket will come with an environmental price as well: State of the art Life Cycle Assessments have shown that the single most effective means of reducing the environmental impact of outerwear is to enhance its lifetime.
Given our extensive environmental controls such as oxidizers to eliminate air emissions and thermal destruction or treatment of our liquid waste and our choice of chemistries, we believe that our fluorinated DWRs are the most environmentally responsible choice.
Gore actively supports the objective to minimize emissions related to functional outdoor products and we are committed to act responsibly and will continue to live up to our promise for the future.