Demand for PFC-free water repellents is high in Taiwan
Robin Grankvist talks about PFCs, additives and various chemicals used in the technical textiles industry with Mary Christine Joy. Synopsis: OrganoClick AB is a Sweden based company providing environment friendly fiber based products. The company was set up in 2006, and has remained a major supplier of renewable, functional, cellulose based materials. Robin Grankvist is the Business Area Manager - Performance Textiles & Nonwovens of OrganoClick. He has done an M. Sc. in Engineering Biotechnology from Umea University and Uppsala School of Entrepreneurship. He has also worked as a Management Consultant at InnoGroup Scandinavia. Excerpts:
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have been used in the textile industry for decades. One of their main usage areas is to confer water and oil repellent properties to textile materials. You'll find PFC on most apparel textiles including ski wear, children clothes, and sportswear and on all kinds of technical textiles ranging from car seats and sofas to medical gowns and uniforms.
PFCs are man-made chemicals that take a very long time to degrade in nature (probably thousands of years). Today it is clear that some PFCs, i.e. the long chained C8 such as PFOA and PFOS, are causing harm to both animals and human health. The health profile of the short chained PFCs (e.g. the C6) is not yet fully clear, but many product companies want to be on the safe side and therefore require that PFC-free alternatives are used.
OC-aquasil™ Tex is a water repellent for textile manufacturers that require great repellency, but don't want to use the controversial PFC chemistry.
The demand from product companies on sustainable and non-toxic chemistry is very strong. Many of the major players in the apparel industry have gone public with their intention to phase out PFCs and other controversial chemistries. Textile manufacturers supplying the apparel industry need to cope with these restrictions and are therefore investing heavily into the implementation of PFC-free water repellents. The technical textile industry is lagging a bit behind in the area of PFC-free water repellents, probably since most of their products are not directly used by consumers. However, as the awareness of the PFC-issue increase, also the technical textile industry is expected to demand more sustainable additives. However, in the technical textile industry the demand for renewable additives such as biobased binders for the manufacturing of nonwoven or technical textile is strong.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of technicaltextile.net.