New Scorecard Ranks Fashion Brands on Efforts to Remove PFAS

By Sujatha Bergen and Yiliqi (NRDC), Alexandra Quinn (founder and CEO, Fashion FWD), and Emily Rogers (Zero Out Toxics advocate, U.S. PIRG Education Fund)

A new scorecard released by NRDC, Fashion FWD, and U.S. PIRG Education Fund shows the majority of America’s favorite apparel brands surveyed earned a D or lower for weak PFAS commitments. The outdoor apparel industry was particularly egregious for their lack of commitment to end the use of PFAS in its supply chain.

Of the 30 companies surveyed, only 4 companies, including Levi Strauss, Keen Footwear, and Victoria’s Secret, received high grades for leading the way in eliminating the toxic "forever chemical" from their products. Their commitments should serve as a call for the rest of the apparel industry to immediately adopt their own policies to stop using the toxic chemicals in their products.

Despite their known threat to our people and planet, PFAS continue to be used widely in the apparel industry to make products waterproof, stain-resistant, and breathable. This leads to PFAS pollution throughout the product’s lifecyclefrom the impact on workers during the manufacture of the chemicals and products to their use by consumers to their disposal. 

To turn off the tap on PFAS pollution, the report authors focus on three approach areas:

1. Apparel brands and retailers should immediately commit to a time-bound phaseout of all added PFAS.

2. Federal and state governments should ban all PFAS in consumer apparel and avoid loopholes that would replace PFAS with other toxic chemicals. 

3. Consumers can also act to protect themselves, their families, and the planet from PFAS by learning the ins and outs of PFAS labeling and urging their favorite brands and retailers to phase out PFAS.

PFAS Central, a project of the Green Science Policy Institute, offers a helpful list of products and brands that state that they offer PFAS-free outdoor gear, apparel, and other products.

About the Authors

Yiliqi

Scientist & Project Manager, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program

Sujatha Bergen

Director, Health Campaigns, Health and Food Division

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