Pertex is rolling out an extensive range of non-PFC, or perfluorinated compounds, durable water-resistant fabrics that have performance characteristics similar to conventional DWR finished fabrics.

Pertex, based in Clitheroe, U.K., acknowledges that the use of PFC-based water-repellent finishes has a negative environmental impact and as such, it has completely eliminated long-chain, or C8, PFC chemistry from its products, moving to a less harmful short-chain, or c6, alternative.

“For over five years, we have been supplying fabrics with non-PFC DWR to select brand partners and with that expertise and experience, we are confident that we can achieve performance at a similar level to conventional DWR,” said Steve Laycock, Pertex brand director.

PFCs are suspected in a range of negative health effects in humans, including increases in cholesterol and uric acid levels and flulike symptoms, causing many fabric and apparel companies and other industries to eliminate then. They have also been found to be potentially lethal in birds and can be harmful to other animals as well.

Laycock said there are barriers to overcome in order to make a complete move away from PFC-based DWR. A key issue still to be resolved is that dirt and stain repellency of non-PFC DWR finishes remains less effective than that of a conventional PFC-based DWR, possibly affecting the garment lifespan.

“We are committed to further expanding our range of non-PFC products through the continued development of new and existing non-PFC DWR technologies, with the ultimate goal of delivering fabrics with long-lasting performance with minimal impact upon the environment,” Laycock said.

The Pertex brand specializes in lightweight technical fabrics and partners with many well-known brands in the outdoor industry.

Most recently, Rab and Montane have introduced new Pertex Shield fabrics in their collections. The Air Jacket from Montane is a lightweight mountain shell using Pertex Shield AP, a waterproof and breathable fabric. Pertex Shield AP uses an air-porous membrane with a high concentration of evenly sized and spaced pores, allowing moisture to escape whilst remaining waterproof.

Rab has introduced its revised Flashpoint jacket to feature a new super light version of Pertex Shield+  waterproof and breathable fabric. This new Pertex Shield+ uses a three-layer construction, combining a seven-denier face fabric with an ultra thin membrane and backer to provide breathable waterproof protection in a lightweight material.