I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the importance of chemical substitution at different meetings and conferences, and pretty much heard all the arguments.
But one thing I heard an industry rep say recently that really stuck to my mind was that “substitutes shall only be accepted if they have the exact same performance”.
“Oh my God”, I thought to myself. With this way of thinking, no chemical will ever be substituted.
Many companies view performance and functionality as something sacred, and to intentionally lower the performance of a product is completely out of the question. “Our customers expect this level of performance and functionality from our products”, companies often argue.
Well, perhaps that’s true. But even if they expect their normal everyday raincoat to have a water-repellent function, they do not assume they should be able to climb Mount Everest with it.
And they certainly do not expect the jacket to contain toxic chemicals.
Unfortunately, gear used to climb high mountains often contain PFAS but, hopefully, these toxic chemicals can soon be phased out from these high-performance products as well.