How sustainable is the c_change™ membrane?
c_ change™ conforms to the bluesign® standard. The bluesign® standard guarantees the greatest possible freedom from harmful substances and the efficient use of resources throughout the entire textile chain. This standard introduces transparency into the manufacturing process from the very beginning. All the components involved in the production chain are recorded by an intelligent “Input Stream Management System“ prior to commencement of the process and examined in accordance with EHS criteria (Environment, Health, Safety).
Why has the c_change™ membrane a high level of environmental compatibility?
Many membranes are based on Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is a fluoropolymere. For decades, PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) has been in use as an emulsifying agent in the manufacturing of PTFE and made specifically for this purpose. For some time now, the fluorochemical has been in discussion in conjunction with traces of PFOS (Perfluorooctane sulphonate) and PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) (see also “What is PFOS” and “What is PFOA”). In the manufacturing of hydrophilic membranes such as c_change™, no fluorochemicals are used. For this reason, it is considered particularly environment-compatible.
What is PFOS?
Perfluorooctane sulphonate is a biopersistent, bioaccumulative and toxic fluoro-organic compound (PBT substance). New legislation will come into force in the European Union on 27 June, 2008, regulating the marketing and use of PFOS in all member states. It restricts the permissible level of PFOS in textiles or other coated materials to below one microgram per square meter (or to 1 ppm)
What is PFOA?
PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid), like PFOS, is biopersistent and has been detected at a ppb level (parts-per-billion*) in the environment and in human blood. For this reason, the responsible authorities, in particular the EPA (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), are searching for the sources from which PFOA originates and want to clarify how PFOA has made its way into the environment and into the general population. At present, intensive investigations are being carried out to find the possible entry sources for PFOA. A withdrawal date for PFOA has been established.
* On 25 January, 2006 the telomere and pluorpolymere manufacturers were invited by the EPA to participate in a global stewardship program relating to PFOA. This program involves the reduction of PFOA emissions and the 95% reduction of the PFOA content in products by 2010 at the latest. From 2015 onwards, the use of PFOA is to be forgone completely. At the same time, in its "PFOA Risk Assessment Draft " the EPA has also pointed out that, on the basis of the information available to date, there is no reason for the consumer to forego industrial or consumer products based on perfluorinated compounds.
How does PFOS/PFOA develop?
PFOS is produced by electrochemical fluorination (ECF process). Among other areas of use, PFOS-based materials are also involved in the manufacturing of water-repellent and oil-repellent products. However, the largest manufacturer discontinued production of this raw material in 2002. PFOA has been used for decades as an emulsifying agent in manufacturing polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and has been explicitly manufactured for this purpose.
Why and for what are fluorochemicals used?
In the 21st Century, we have become used to the many beneficial properties and functions of modern clothing and textiles. A high level of water-, oil- and dirt-repellency is among the features which have become commonplace in today’s clothing sector and that are demanded by consumers. Just like the conventional waterproof and windproof membranes used in clothing and shoes. These properties are achieved through the use of classic fluorochemicals.