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Project results POPFREE stage two

POPFREE step two aimed to develop competitive alternatives to PFAS in six different product categories: textile impregnation for clothing and shoes, cosmetics, grease-resistant paper, film-forming products, fire foam and ski wax.

Development of alternatives and products without PFAS

The general substitution process was applied in all cases and included:

  • A thorough investigation of which PFASs are used in the products and their function.
  • Compilation and definition of the technical criteria that the alternatives must meet.
  • Screening and testing of new alternatives, where new methods for testing PFAS-free substances were also developed.
  • Carrying out risk assessments to avoid alternatives with an equally problematic or worse risk profile.
  • Continuous monitoring of existing and future legislation to ensure that the development of alternatives is long-term sustainable.
  • Based on the results from screening and risk assessment, certain alternatives were further evaluated at prototype level or on a larger scale.
  • Carrying out complete life cycle assessments of several products that have shown promising results in laboratory and pilot tests.

A selection of results from the different product categories

Paper

In the field of paper, extensive analyzes of fat rejection on a lab scale were carried out on many different formulations, where the most promising ones were also tested in pilot experiments in a paper machine. Developed herbal coatings and mechanical processing to obtain a dense surface of pure cellulose are both new PFAS-free solutions that can be used in, among other things, packaging for fast food, baking paper and muffin tins.

Cosmetics

A screening of cosmetic products showed that there may be PFAS in, for example, foundation creams, powders, mascara and lip pencils. Many of these products also existed without PFAS with the same claims, which indicates that there are already alternatives and in this case the focus was more on communication about PFAS in the industry than developing alternatives.

Fire-fighting foam

Various concepts were tested in PFAS-free fire-fighting foam (FFF) where, among other things, a certain type of silicon particles indicated an improvement in the foam's extinguishing ability and has potential in foams that are not in the form of concentrates that require low viscosity. The PFAS-free foam was launched by project partners during the project.

Ski wax

New methods for evaluating and screening new alternatives and prototype embankments before traditional slip tests on snow were developed and prototype embankments with different alternatives were screened. A sledge that measures friction between prepared skis and snow was developed and tested in the ski tunnel in Gällö. The most promising prototypes of the lab tests were selected and tested by the Längdland team's wall team in Torsby ski tunnel.

Film-forming products

A large number of surfactants were evaluated with respect to film-forming ability on a lab scale with a newly developed method. The most promising went on to evaluation on a larger scale where the most promising was formulated and evaluated in an end product that is now on the market. Implementation of PFAS-free surfactants in several different types of products is included in step three.

Impregnation

Promising water-repellent (DWR) formulations were identified and tests show that satisfactory water-repellent can be obtained with PFAS-free impregnations, but grease and dirt-repellent is still difficult to obtain without PFAS. New tests were developed to supplement standardized tests for the evaluation of formulations and treated textiles. Further development of textile impregnations and tests in a real environment is included in step three.

Communication

In parallel with the technical development, the project has worked intensively with communication aimed at the various value chains as well as consumers.

Key activities

  • Development of a PFAS dialogue guide adapted to facilitate communication in the textile value chain without having to be an expert in chemistry, in order to ensure that products produced are guaranteed PFAS-free.
  • Stand during the Vasaloppet fair in 2019 and 2020 to reach private individuals as well as the entire cross-country skiing sector.
  • Breakfast seminars and presentations at various events.
  • Survey to examine Vasaloppet skiers' awareness and attitude to skiing without fluoride
  • Survey to better understand consumers' needs and behaviors regarding the handling of school uniforms with different DWR treatments.
  • The survey, dialogue and PFAS analyzes of food packaging in the UK where PFAS was measured in 90% of the packaging analyzed.

Duration: 2017-11-01 – 2020-03-01

Total budget: 25 000 000 SEK

Funded by: Vinnova

Project team: RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Nouryon, BillerudKorsnäs AB, BIM Kemi AB, Carrington Workwear Ltd, Chemex AB, COOP Danmark A/S, Dafo fomtec AB, Fidra, Fristads AB, Försvarets Materialverk (FMV), H&M Hennes & Mauritz GBC AB, Haglöfs AB, Helly Hansen AS, Icebug AB, Klättermusen AB, Mammut Sports Group AG, Mid Sweden University (Mittuniversitetet), Naturskyddsföreningen, Nordic Paper Seffle AB, Organoclick AB, Paragon Nordic AB, Peak Performance Production AB, Peak Region Science Park (Peak Innovation), Red creek Sweden AB, RISE IVF, Swix Sports AS, TPC Textile AB, Vasaloppsförening SÄLEN-MORA.