Responsible usage of Fluoromaterials
Gore Fabrics’ Goal and Roadmap for Eliminating PFCs of Environmental Concern
"Gore continuously strives to deliver outdoor products with the optimal combination of high technical performance and sustainability. By adopting the ambitious goal to eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from all of our consumer fabrics products we are underlining our decades long commitment to continuously improve the environmental profile of our products. Together with our suppliers, we intend to achieve our goal through an aggressive innovation program that will entail the development of new DWR treatments and membrane materials." Christian Langer, member of the Gore Fabrics Divisional Leadership Team
DWR (Durable Water Repellent) Treatments
GORE-TEX® garments have a textile treatment called DWR – (durable water repellency) - applied to the outermost fabric layer so that water beads up and rolls off rather than soaking into the textile. DWR is important as it provides comfort and protection to the end-user.
ePTFE MembraneAt the heart of GORE-TEX® fabrics is an extremely thin membrane that is durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable. Gore Fabrics uses a fluoropolymer, ePTFE (an expanded form of PTFE), for this membrane.PTFE is a fluoropolymer. Fluoropolymers are extremely valuable materials that have unique properties and enable high performing products. For example, the use of fluoropolymers will enhance the durability of a product, enabling a longer life and lowering its environmental footprint. Fluoropolymers are a separate family of high-performance plastics that are different from water and oil repellency treatments.Based on broad scientific consensus, PTFE is considered environmentally sound. This fluoropolymer is inert, insoluble in water, extremely stable and not biodegradable. Therefore, it does not degrade to become a source of PFCs of Environmental Concern.
"The clear distinction between PFCs of Environmental Concern and PTFE will help overcome a long-standing ambiguity of how to differentiate materials that are safe from those that raise concerns. In addition to providing clearly defined guardrails for the outdoor industry, a rigorous and precise definition clears the way for Gore and its customers to deliver more sustainable technology innovations." Bernhard Kiehl, Gore Fabrics Sustainability Leader
History of ePTFE
The expansion process was first discovered by Bob Gore when he rapidly stretched PTFE under certain conditions. The result was an incredibly strong, microporous material with an amazing list of characteristics including low water adsorption and good weathering properties, expanded PTFE or ePTFE. In 1970 Gore applied for what was to become the first of many patents for GORE-TEX® products made with Gore's signature product technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
No.We believe there is a clear and important distinction between PTFE and the PFCs of Environmental Concern, a position supported by sound science.PTFE is non-toxic, safe for the end-user, insoluble and biocompatible. It is a large, stable molecule that does not degrade to become a source of PFCs of Environmental Concern.
Will your new products made and treated without PFCs of Environmental Concern provide for an equal level of performance as your current technology?This is clearly the goal Gore Fabrics has set. Gore Fabrics continuously strives to deliver outdoor products with the optimal combination of high technical performance and sustainability. Maintaining end-use specific quality and performance standards is prerequisite for any new technology developments.
Does Gore Fabrics' Goal to eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern mean that Gore Fabrics will not longer use PTFE?No. As a material science company, we are simultaneously pursing multiple technical paths for our fabrics products and not limiting ourselves to only fluoromaterials, however we believe that PTFE will continue to be the material of choice for many applications.
Discover other responsibility topics
Life Cycle Assessment
Results of Life Cycle Assessments show that the best way to minimize the environmental footprint of our products is to enhance their durability.
To ensure the highest quality and safety of our products, Gore Fabrics is partner of bluesign® standard and OEKO-TEX® Standard 100.
Everyone at Gore is expected to demonstrate integrity in all relationships with suppliers, customers, stakeholders and Gore associates.