Fate of Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from Durable Water-Repellent Clothing during Use
By Ike van der Veen, Steffen Schellenberger, Anne-Charlotte Hanning, Ann Stare, Jacob de Boer, Jana M. Weiss, and Pim EG Leonards
April 19, 2022
To make outdoor clothing water- or dirt-repellent, durable water-repellent (DWR) coatings based on side-chain fluorinated polymers (SFPs) are used. During use of outdoor clothing, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) can be emitted from the DWR to the environment. In this study, the effects of aging, washing, and tumble drying on the concentration of extractable PFASs in the DWR of perfluorohexane-based short-chain SFPs (FC-6 chemistry) and of perfluorooctane-based long-chain SFPs (FC-8 chemistry) were assessed. For this purpose, polyamide (PA) and polyester (PES) fabrics were coated with FC-6- and FC-8-based DWRs. Results show that aging of the coated fabrics causes an increase in concentration and formation of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs). The effect of aging on the volatile PFASs depends on the type of fabric. Washing causes a decrease in PFAA concentrations, and in general, volatile PFASs are partly washed out of the textiles. However, washing can also increase the extractable concentration of volatile PFASs in the fabrics. This effect becomes stronger by a combination of aging and washing. Tumble drying does not affect the PFAS concentrations in textiles. In conclusion, aging and washing of fabrics coated with the DWR based on SFPs release PFASs to the environment.