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You’re out walking your dog on a drizzly morning or enjoying a brisk winter hike when you start to notice that your weather-proof jacket or hiking boots aren’t keeping you as dry as they once did. Before you reach for a can of waterproofing chemicals, read this! 

Aftermarket stain- and water-resistant treatments for outdoor apparel and other textiles can contain dangerous PFAS “forever chemicals.” For example, if you have an old can of Scotchgard made by 3M, it likely contains PFAS. 

The good news is that safer, effective alternatives to PFAS treatments have been identified by the Washington Department of Ecology as part of its work to implement the groundbreaking Safer Products for Washington law. 

You don’t have to sacrifice your health for effective protection from the weather. Here are Toxic-Free Future’s tips to extend the life of your outdoor apparel without exposing yourself to more toxic PFAS “forever chemicals”!

  1. Look for products identified as safer from Ecology’s list, like Nikwax. Nikwax is a readily available product that can be washed in or sprayed on items like rain jackets, boots, hiking pants, tents, and other outdoor apparel. 
  2. Choose apparel that is PFAS-free to begin with, when possible. We know PFAS-free options exist because our study found some rain jackets marketed as water-resistant or waterproof that appeared to be free of PFAS. Contact companies and search for items listed as PFAS-free to ensure they are free of the entire class of compounds. Avoid items with labeling such as “PFOA-free” that indicates it is free of some, but not all, PFAS.
  3. Join us to learn about more actions to take! Sign up for our email list and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for opportunities to move company and public policies towards a toxic-free future.