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Non-fluorinated DWR

We’re striving to convert to a less-toxic nonfluorinated DWR finish as soon as possible.

Why

Water repellency doesn’t just keep you comfortable. In extreme conditions, it can also offer critical, life-saving performance features. To achieve this, many apparel manufacturers create gear that’s been coated with water repellent treatments, which helps moisture bead up and roll off the outer fabric and membrane layers. And to ensure it keeps you warm and dry, they rely on fluorinated chemistries. Historically, these finishes have been made using per- or polyfluorinated chemicals, which contain fluorine, an incredibly effective water repellent. (There are thousands of these kinds of chemistries, each with subtly different molecular structures and fairly similar functions. At Patagonia, we use “PFC” as our blanket abbreviation.)

But fluorine impacts everything it touches and trickles all the way down. According to the EPA, the manufacturing of “forever chemicals” harms human and animal health, accumulating in us through air, water and food. And thanks to their nearly indestructible bond, these chemicals can also persist in our environment for thousands of years.

That’s why we have spent significant time, energy and dollars to find the best PFC-free alternative without sacrificing performance and durability.

Where We Are

We are striving to convert to a non-PFC (fluorine-free) DWR finish as soon as possible. These less-impactful chemistries function differently than fluorinated chemistries, so it takes a specific and thoughtful application for success and we are working closely with our supply chain partners to achieve this.

What’s Next

We are converting noncritical products with a DWR finish (around 90% of our weather/waterproof garments) to become PFC-free by Fall 2022, including items like insulation pieces, midlayers and some outerwear. For critical DWR applications, like a rain jacket you’d wear for 24 hours, we do not yet have a DWR solution that meets the functional needs of these garments. The brightest chemists are helping us to find a solution for this remaining 10% of our products.

The industry is striving to convert from these toxic fluorinated chemistries, but every brand is at different stages of conversion. There is no industry-wide goal set for the elimination of PFCs, and unfortunately no rush to solutions on a mass scale. But we work within a shared supply chain and allow other garment makers to utilize our solutions to enable large-scale success.

Plenty of brands are rushing to claim 100% PFC-free products but are facing performance and longevity issues. So, there’s a problem with using early solutions, which will require the production (and purchasing) of more goods in the long-term.

Non-fluorinated DWR
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