Water and oil repellent textiles are in great demand for these properties are required in protective clothing, interior and technical textiles where they facilitate an easy maintenance and a reduced use of detergents, resulting in a lower environmental impact. They also allow many outdoor applications for textiles.

Water and oil repellent finishes for textiles and leather based on fluorocarbons (FC) are highly targeted because of their impact on the environment. Especially C8 FCs are problematic for reasons of toxicity and their derivative products such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and  perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) that are presumably carcinogenic, persistent and bio-accumulative. 

Growing awareness and stricter regulations

Initiatives like Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) desire that by 2020 there is a ban on the use of FCs. However, the existing alternatives to bestow water and oil repellent properties to textiles do not comply with the high quality standards for oil repellency.

The sale and use of PFOS is limited since 2006 (EU Directive 2006/122/EC) and 2008 (Hazardous Substances Regulation and Chemical Prohibition Regulation). PFOS has been added to the list of substances subject to restrictions by the Stockholm Convention. 

PFOA is included in the REACH SVHC (substances of very high concern) list: obligation of communication in Europe when the PFOA concentration exceeds 0.1% (g/g) in the end product.

Through this pre-standard study we desire to develop an analytic test method to determine perfluorinated compounds including the required extraction and purification methods.

The diversity of methods, equipment and techniques (GC/MS and LC/MS) prevent a clear view on a general analytic method for a wide spectrum of perfluorinated compounds in textiles. We desire to link a simple yet efficient sample preparation (extraction and purification method) to a GC/MS/MS and/or LC/MS/MS analysis to determine perfluorinated substances in textiles in the largest possible concentration area.

Through this study, we want to contribute to the development of a standardized test method to determine perfluorinated compounds. We will divulge the project results in the  CEN/TC 248 WG 26 EC Committee "restricted substances".