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Greenpeace Study Finds Hazardous Chemicals in Outdoor Footwear

Columbia, The North Face and Patagonia were just a few of the popular outdoor brands named in a recent study conducted by Greenpeace that contain hazardous per- and polyfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, in their footwear.

Greenpeace tested seven pairs of shoes from a range of outdoor brands and detected PFCs in all pairs. These styles included the Columbia women’s Redmond trail shoe, Haglöfs men’s Grym, Jack Wolfskin men’s All Terrain Texapore, Mammut men’s Redburn, Patagonia Foot Tractor wading boots, Salewa Condor Evo and The North Face men’s Hedgehog Hike.

Though PFCs are hazardous to the environment and human health, the chemicals are used in many industrial and consumer products, including textile and leather products. PFCs are especially concentrated in waterproof and dirt-repellent finishes.

The highest concentrations of PFCs were found in the Columbia Redmond, followed by the Jack Wolfskin All Terrain Texapore, The North Face Hedgehog Hike and the Salewa Condor Evo.

Swedish brand Haglöfs’ Grym shoe had the highest concentration of PFC PFOA of all the product categories. PFC PFOA is a PFC variety of high concern and is currently proposed for restriction under the EU’s regulations.

Overall, in all outdoor categories, 40 products were tested, including apparel and camping and hiking equipment. Of the products tested, only four were free of PFCs. Greenpeace said that the four products that did not contain PFCs signify that alternatives are possible and are beginning to be implemented.