In ten years, we've done a lot of heavy lifting in fabric innovation. When we learned about the potential negative impact of PFCs, on people and the environment, our path was clear: find an effective PFC-Free DWR solution.
What Are PFCs?
A perfluorinated compound per - or polyfluoroalkyl chemical are all completely man-made chemicals commonly used in DWR (durable water repellent) coatings and waterproof membranes. These fluorochemicals have been used for some time to give clothing water and stain-resistant properties. There are many sources of PFCs within the clothing sector but over half of the most hazardous PFC chemicals are used for weatherproof clothing.
Why is PFC-Free Important?
Once released into the environment PFCs break down very slowly; they can remain in the environment for many years after their release and are dispersed over the entire globe. They can affect both the wearer of the garment and the environment when it washes or rubs off jackets. It has accumulated in measurable levels in snow, ice, and water around the world. For some PFCs there is evidence that they cause harm to reproduction, promotes the growth of tumors and affects the hormone system. PFCs are on the globally-recognized Restricted Substances Lists.
When we created Nau, we knew we needed a better way to make jackets waterproof, but none existed. So we invented our own. In 2014, we were the first in the outdoor industry to transition to a C6 DWR —which is essentially DWR with reduced PFC’s (industry standard is C8). And in 2017, Nau became the first company to shift to C0 100% PFC-Free DWR treatments in the U.S. market. We use a variety of PFC-Free DWR alternatives that are bio-based and hydrocarbon polymer-based chemistries in order to achieve the best water repellency performance with the lowest impact.
All of our PFC-free DWR chemistries are screened by accredited third party organizations such as Bluesign, ZDHC, Oeko-tex Standard 100, and globally-recognized Restricted Substances Lists to ensure safety for mill and factory workers, for Nau customers, and for the environment. Through industry-standard performance testing, we’ve found that water repellency for our PFC-free DWR is comparable to traditional iterations and our PFC-free DWR has since become the industry standard for healthy, effective waterproofing.
Care For PFC-Free DWR Apparel
80% of clothing's environmental impact comes from its care. So proper care is crucial. If your piece gets dirty, opt for spot treatment over washing. If you need to wash it, always use cold water and tumble dry low to reactivate the DWR. Every few seasons, reapply Nikwax to maintain water repellency.