Performance and hazard assessment of fluorinated and non-fluorinated state-of-the-art DWR-polymers
Poster (konferens), 2016

Durable water repellent (DWR) impregnation is applied in textile finishing to impart water and, depending on impregnation chemicals, oil and stain resistance to textiles. Following the phase-out of the most effective and predominating DWR-technology based on long-chain perand polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), the textile industry had to find suitable alternatives. This phase-out has resulted in a market where both fluorinated and non-fluorinated DWRs are available, dividable into three broad groups: short chain PFAS-based, silicone-based and hydrocarbonbased polymers. During our research in the SUPFES (Substitution of prioritised poly- and perfluorinated chemicals to eliminate diffuse sources) project, the alternative DWRs were assessed with regards to: (i)their structural properties and connected performance, (ii) loss and degradation processes resulting in diffuse environmental emissions, and (iii) hazard profile for selected emitted substances. We worked with DWR-chemistry and raw material producers to appropriately treat two commercially relevant types of fabrics with the DWR alternative chemistries (fluorinated and non-fluorinated). We compared the performance of the treated fabrics developed in the project by testing the following properties using industrial standardised methods: general properties, physical properties, DWR properties and tabilities of properties considering relevant stress- parameters. We demonstrated that non-fluorinated alternatives can have a competitive water repellency in comparison to short-chain PFAS substitutes, but that they lack oil repellence. We further estimated possible loss mechanisms for impurities and/or degradation products from DWR-treated fabrics and conducted a hazard assessment for relevant chemicals based on data available in the literature. Our hazard ranking suggests that hydrocarbonbased polymers are the most environmentally benign, followed by silicone- and fluorocarbon-based polymers. Future work will include risk assessment and life cycle assessments (LCA) to estimate long-term advantages and disadvantages of the different DWR-technologies.


Steffen Schellenberger

Hanna Holmquist

Kemisk miljövetenskap

Ike van der Veen

Philip Gillgard

Gregory Peters

Kemisk miljövetenskap

Pim E.G. Leonards

Ian T. Cousins

SETAC Nantes 2016


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