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The Wrinkles in Getting ‘Forever Chemicals’ Out of Our Clothes

WSJ’s The Future of Everything

21-07-2023 • 25 mins

So-called “forever chemicals” are seemingly everywhere. A recent government study found close to half of U.S. tap water contains at least one PFAS chemical. They’re also on a lot of our clothes, where the chemicals are used to promote water resistance or repel stains. But some of the things that make PFAS so effective also means they stay in our bodies for years. And these chemicals have been linked to health issues, including high cholesterol and an increased risk of kidney cancer. Now, as clothing companies look to eliminate PFAS from their products, they’re facing another challenge: what to replace the chemicals with—ideally without sacrificing performance. WSJ’s Alex Ossola dives into the textile industry’s efforts to move on from PFAS and change our expectations around our clothing.  Further reading:  Lots of Tap Water Contains ‘Forever Chemicals.’ Take These Steps to Reduce Your Risk.  What to Know About ‘Forever Chemicals,’ or PFAS, and Your Health  How ‘Forever Chemicals’ Are All Around Us, From Winter Coats to Fast-Food Wrappers  EPA Proposes Limits for ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water  Coastal Town Brings Mass Litigation—and an ‘Existential Threat’—to Chemical Giants  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit