We have rainy days all year round, and it is important to find environmentally friendly and chemical-free rainwear for both us and our children. Rainwear often has a lot of pressure on it to be water-repellent but at the same time airy in a material that breathes. The clothes often consist of some kind of plastic material (polyester or polyurethane) that is derived from fossil fuels. The boots are also often made of synthetic rubber (oil) but there are those that are made of natural rubber (from the rubber tree). Read more about a conscious consumption of rainwear here.
To get the water-repellent surface, the clothes can be treated with perfluorinated substances. These substances cause water and fat to slip off, much like butter slipping around in a teflon pan. The most well-known chemical is called PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), and is the world’s most slippery substance according to the Guinness Book of Records. A better choice is impregnation with Bionic finish ECO, which means that the rainwear is organically treated, without fluoride. Nowadays, there are also other types of materials that are water-repellent and better for the environment, such as Sympatex.
H&M and Lindex are two examples of clothing chains that have completely stopped using all perfluorinated substances in their collections. Lindex writes on its website that they started using the fluorocarbon-free impregnation BIONIC-FINISH®ECO in their outerwear range for children in 2012. Today, BIONIC-FINISH®ECO is used as impregnation in Lindex’s entire outerwear range. Other brands that are also completely fluorocarbon-free are Didriksons, Fjällräven and Klättermusen.
Gore-tex is also on the right track and writes on their website: “By the end of 2020, Gore Fabrics will eliminate environmentally problematic PFC from approximately 85% of deliveries of consumer products. This includes jackets, shoes, gloves and accessories.” The buttons on the clothes can also contain chemicals. In 2011, Testfakta analyzed 11 rain gear for children and more than half contained lead in the buttons. But in 2016, Testfakta found no heavy metals or PVC in the following rainwear for children: Stormberg, Polarn & Pyret, KappAhl, Ica, H&M, Didriksons, Ticket to Heaven, Cubus and Helly Hansen.
Advice for conscious consumption of rainwear
- Buy your rainwear second-hand.
- Look for the label Bionic finish ECO, or the material Sympatex.
- Buy rubber boots in natural rubber.
Page updated 2021.