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Denmark bans PFAS in clothing (Effective 2026)

Denmark is taking a bold step towards protecting public health and the environment with a proposed ban on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in clothing and footwear. This decision, announced in April 2024, will come into effect on July 1, 2026, giving businesses a two-year transition period to adapt.

PFAS, often referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their extreme persistence in the environment, are a class of synthetic chemicals widely used for their water- and stain-repellent properties. They can be found in a variety of products, including clothing, footwear, food packaging, carpeting, and firefighting foams. However, growing scientific evidence links PFAS exposure to a range of health problems, including cancers, developmental delays in children, and issues with the immune system and reproduction.

While the ban applies to most clothing and footwear, there will be an exemption for professional and safety gear where suitable alternatives to PFAS might not be readily available. This ensures that firefighters and other workers whose safety depends on water-resistant clothing are not put at risk.

We must take the lead in working to limit PFAS at the source.A national ban on the import and sale of clothing, shoes and implementation agents with PFAS is an important step on the way to limiting emissions and will have a real environmental effect in Denmark.

Danish Environment Minister Magnus Heunicke

The two-year transition period is designed to give manufacturers time to develop and implement alternatives to PFAS. The textile industry is already exploring various options, including new fluorine-free water repellents and bio-based solutions. This shift presents an opportunity for innovation and could lead to the development of safer and more sustainable materials for clothing and footwear.

This is a landmark decision.By banning PFAS in clothing, Denmark is sending a strong message to the global marketplace that safer alternatives are needed.

Sarah Doll, a scientist with the Environmental Working Group

The Danish ban could also have a ripple effect on other countries. As the first European nation to implement such a comprehensive ban, Denmark is setting a precedent that other countries may choose to follow. This could lead to a broader shift away from PFAS in clothing and footwear across the globe.

Developing and implementing cost-effective and equally functional alternatives to PFAS will require collaboration between industry, researchers, and policymakers.

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