Test: Fluorinated substances found in impregnation sprays

29. mar 2017

An impregnation spray can be useful when your shoes or jacket are no longer waterproof. But impregnation sprays might contain fluorinated substances that can be harmful to human health and the environment.


Test: Fluorinated substances found in impregnation sprays
Photo: Nikoline Oturai

5 out of 11 sprays in test contained fluorinated substances

The test revealed that 5 of the sprays contained fluorinated substances. On the other hand 6 sprays did not contain the unwanted substances.

So consumers have the option to buy impregnation sprays without fluorinated substances.

See the test results (in Danish).

Fluorinated substances are problematic

Fluorinated substances have for many years been used for impregnating jackets and shoes. The substances have good waterproofing abilities that can be used on textiles, but the substances can also be problematic to health and the environment.

Fluorinated chemicals are non-biodegradable and accumulate in the human body and environment over time.

They are among other things suspected of having a negative influence on the immune system, and results from Danish scientists also indicates that content of fluorinated substances in the blood of pregnant women increases the risk of miscarriage significantly.

Only use impregnation sprays outdoor and avoid inhalation

When you use a spray, a mist of aerosols is formed. This mist can remain in the air for a long time.

When waterproofing boots, skiwear or other outdoor clothing it is important not to inhale the particles that may be harmful. This also applies to impregnation sprays without fluorinated substances.

Using a manual pump spray creates fewer particles than a pressurized spray can.

Many manufacturers are phasing out fluorinated substances

In relation to the test many manufacturers have told that they are in the process of phasing out fluorinated substances, or that they will begin phasing out as a consequence of the test.

For further questions about the test contact Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, project manager in The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, on e-mail csk@fbr.dk.