WHAT ARE PFCs?
PFCs (per- and polyfluorinated chemicals, all of which fall under the fluorocarbon family) are manmade chemicals that are harmful to the environment because it's difficult for them to biodegrade in nature. In fact, some PFCs are also harmful to the human body. However, PFCs are both stable and durable and can make clothes resistant to water, stains and dirt, which is why they are often found in outerwear for little mischief-makers who love to spend hours outside having fun.
Some PFCs have already been banned, while others are about to be. Companies around the world have committed to entirely eliminating the use of a number of the PFCs that are most harmful to human health and the environment by 2020.
But hummel is a step ahead. Starting from the 2017 spring and summer collections, all hummel children’s clothing will be 100% PFC-free.
WHAT PRODUCTS CONTAIN PFCs?
Essentially, any textile may have been treated with PFCs. PFCs are used to make a product water or dirt resistant. That's why it's often products that are intended to be water and/or dirt resistant that may contain PFCs.
PFCs are typically used in outerwear but can also be found in other products. They are often found in rainwear, jackets, snowsuits, leggings, softshells and mittens.
You may be wondering whether these PFCs/fluorocarbons are somehow related to fluoride in toothpaste, to which the answer is no. They are two completely different things.
POLAR BEARS DON’T LIKE PFCs
PFCs have been found in polar bears in the Arctic. Polar bears don’t like PFCs, to put it mildly. Studies have shown that a typical polar bear is filled with chemicals. In fact, of all animals in the Arctic, polar bears contain the highest levels of harmful chemicals.
These chemicals can damage their livers and other organs. If polar bears could speak, the first thing they would ask for would likely be more fresh seals and fish that haven’t been contaminated with PFCs and other harmful chemicals.
You can see how PFCs make their way into ecosystems in the figure to the right.
HUMMEL CHILDREN’S CLOTHING IS 100% PFC-FREE
Fortunately, it's possible to find outerwear for children that is free from PFCs while still being water and stain resistant as well as breathable and comfortable to go exploring in nature. hummel children’s clothing is 100% PFC-free - both with respect to treatment as well as the clothing membranes. This is the case for all hummel® children’s clothing, both outerwear and normal clothes.
PFC-FREE - BIONIC FINISH
At hummel, we use one of the best water repellent impregnation treatments in the market - Bionic Finish - which results in great breathability and a good stain/dirt repellent effect. Bionic Finish has the same water repellent effect as products containing PFCs. However, any water repellent impregnation - with or without PFCs - will gradually wear off with washing and tumble drying. Clothing that has been impregnated with Bionic Finish will only begin to lose its repellent effect after 20 washes.
If your son or daughter is the adventurous sort who loves the outdoors, 20 washes may not sound like a lot, but fortunately there are many other and more environmentally friendly ways to keep your children’s outdoor clothing functional and looking nice for a long time. For example, it helps to give your child’s outdoor clothing a finishing treatment with PFC-free products in areas that could benefit from extra protection (e.g. the knees and bottom).
LABELLING - BIONIC FINISH
When you buy hummel® children’s clothing that is PFC-free, you will always find a label on the clothes stating that the product is PFC-free. In the future, we will add a label from Bionic Finish, but on some current styles you will instead see our own label.
Fortunately, there is no actual difference between the two. Both labels provide the same guarantee, namely that hummel® children’s clothing is PFC-free.
WASHING INSTRUCTIONS FOR OUTERWEAR
All hummel® clothing can be washed, and you can also tumble dry most of our products at low temperatures. The best way to maintain the properties of the clothing, such as its water repellence, water-proof character and breathability is to avoid washing it unless necessary. Follow these washing instructions to ensure that your child’s outerwear remains in great shape for outdoor fun as long as possible:
- Wash the clothes inside out
- Use a moist cloth to remove loose debris and stains
- Avoid (pre-)soaking
- Avoid using laundry detergent that contains bleach or any kind of optical brightener
- Avoid using fabric softener
Following these simple washing instructions benefits both people and the environment!
CONSUMER AND ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY
At hummel, we take consumer and environmental safety very seriously. We are compliant with the EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which ensures that products sold and purchased in the EU do not pose any harmful effects to humans nor the environment.
At the same time, our products are OEKO-TEX® certified, which is the world’s leading health and environmental certification for textiles and similar materials. OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is divided into four product classes according to the amount of permitted residual chemicals in the finished product. A very large proportion of our children’s clothing is compliant with OEKO-TEX product class 1, which has the strictest human-ecological requirements of the four product classes.
It is our way of guaranteeing our customers that there are no harmful chemicals in hummel® children’s clothing.