Water repellency is the name of the game when you’re battling seasonal elements like rain or snow. We take water-repellency seriously here at Isotoner, but not at the cost of the environment. You may have noticed some new terminology cropping up in your outerwear shopping research. “PFC-Free” is the latest acronym in a string of new sustainable offerings from a variety of retailers, including Isotoner.
But what are PFCs and why are they harmful?
PFC stands for “perfluorinated chemical,” also known as “fluorocarbons.” These fluorocarbons are a chemical compound often used in household items like non-stick cookware. However, in the world of weather preparedness, this chemical is excellent at repelling water. Historically, fabric manufacturers have used PFC treatments to help fabrics repel water by forcing the water to bead up and roll off the fabric, rather than soaking into the fabric and getting it wet in the process. Sounds great right? Not quite.
Over time, with wear and tear, these water repellant coatings begin to break down, releasing fluoride in the process. Any water that comes into contact with this coating, such as the rain running off your camping tent, will then be contaminated with fluoride. The water then travels into water streams, causing higher than normal levels of fluoride in our environment. High levels of this toxic chemical fluoride are actually quite harmful to animals and humans alike. This not only impacts the water we drink, but the air we breathe, vegetation, wildlife, and food production.
That’s right - fluoride can be naturally occurring and can be helpful to humans in some applications. However, fluoride has an extremely low degradation rate, which means those toxins that eventually make their way to our waterways will stick around for thousands of years. This toxic compound degrades so slowly that naturally occurring fluoride has even been found in slow moving glaciers, continuing to pour toxic water into our oceans and streams for years to come. The more man-made PFC’s we create for things like water repellent coatings or non-stick pans, the higher our fluoride levels – and water toxicity – will become.
So what is Isotoner doing to reduce PFCs?
Our innovation team has been working tirelessly to create an effective water repellency technology that is PFC-free and safe for the environment. The result? smartDRI®. Our technology repels water with absolutely none of these harmful PFC chemicals, without sacrificing the weather protection you have come to expect from Isotoner. We call this cleaner chemistry. The water still rolls right off our gloves but you'll stay just as warm and dry. And the planet stays a little bit cleaner and safer for all.
This is just one more way that Isotoner is moving the needle forward in sustainability one pair of warm, dry hands at a time.