Survey of parents calls into question effectiveness of PFAS school uniform coatings

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8th August 2018 13:42 - Chemicals

Survey of parents calls into question the effectiveness of PFAS school uniform coatings: When shopping for school uniforms, the promise of a longer-lasting product or stain-resistant fabrics is incredibly attractive to busy parents. However, a survey by Scottish environmental charity, Fidra, suggests products with polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are not quite as revolutionary as they promise, with parents having to wash them more often and replace sooner than uniforms that had not been treated.

The charity polled 637 parents or guardians of primary school-aged children across the UK to find out what consumers want and need from school uniforms and whether buying an item with a stain resistant finish causes consumers to change their washing and buying habits.

It found that consumers who actively sought out uniform items with a stain resistant coating actually ended up washing the uniform more frequently and have to replace their items sooner.

It also found that generally, the environment was not generally a high priority for consumers when considering products for their child’s uniform and that environmentally conscious consumers are just as likely to value stain-resistant products as people who don’t look for environmentally friendly products. This suggests that parents buying school uniform are not currently linking chemical coatings with any environmental concerns or benefit.

It also found that the frequency of washing and replacing school uniform is more linked to habit rather than need.

Fidra says in its report summary: “These results suggest that stain resistance on uniforms isn’t resulting in reduced washing or increased durability of clothes, as claimed by manufacturers. We think this supports our idea that these coatings might not be making a big difference to the convenience of daily life.”

You can view the full report here

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