“I don’t get oily when walking,” a team of Textiles researchers were told whilst investigating the use of fluorocarbons in raingear. The comment came from a study which asked outdoor enthusiasts how they use their clothing. Harmful fluorocarbons are used in waterproof jackets to repel rain and oil. Their use in clothing manufacturing has raised concern from legislation bodies and environmentalists alike, with some manufacturers switching to alternative coatings.
Leeds research found that fluorocarbons outperformed newer fabrics only in their oil repellency. Water resistance, which 82% of participants considered the most important factor, was unaffected. Sustainability is a growing concern within the clothing industry and “can be achieved through better chemistry,” says Dr Richard Blackburn.