The SUPFES project takes a holistic view on the use of the fluorinated chemicals in the textile industry studying emissions, life cycles and human and aquatic toxicity.
Flourinated compunds are commonly found in several consumer products, for example clothes, but has shown to have damaging effexcts on the environment. To create possibilities for real change the SUPFES project also looks at practical substitution of fluorinated compound in textile applications. This means that substitutes need to be evaluated for their environmental effects but they need also to be evaluated for their functional effects, durability and compatibility with textile processing.
To be able to do this the project has created a research environment with researchers from one research institute, two Swedish and one Dutch university. The research spans human and aquatic toxicology, emission studies, life cycle assessments but also includes research on textile processing and textile analysis and testing. The SUPFES project also integrates dissemination of knowledge to industry and public bodies to maximize the use of the results created in the project. The SUPFES project will test the hypotheses that emissions of these chemicals are mostly generated as diffuse emissions, i.e. as small and large emissions throughout the whole life of the product, and that textiles are an important source of these emissions.
The additional goal for SUPFES is to better understand performance and environmental impact from alternatives to replace fluorinated chemicals which are harmful to the environment. Within the project a number of scientific and industrial partners collaborate to assess and explore if diffuse sources, with textiles as case studies, are a major contributor to the persistent flouorochemical pollution. They also explore the new alternatives really provide desired functionality that are less harmful with less impact on health and environment, with extra focus on diffuse emission, than the current used fluorochemicals. SUPFES is a project funded by The Swedish Research Council Formas and an important part of their directed research effort on diffuse sources.
The Swedish Research Council Formas Effort on Diffuse Sources
Diffuse sources such as traffic, waste disposal and consumer products have a major share of the chemical load on our environment. Diffuse sources are difficult to identify, quantify and limit. The work on reducing chemical hazards has up till now often been focused on point sources.
The SUPFES project is part of a FORMAS effort to fund research and further understanding in this area. The goal is to identify and characterize sources for diffuse emissions, find ways to reduce emission and evaluate the health- and environmental hazards with this pollution. A secondary goal is to establish transdisciplinary research environments within this area.
The SUPFES project is an important part of FORMAS effort on Diffuse Sources
The SUPFES project focuses on diffuse emissions of fluorinated compound. These compounds are chemically stable and persistent in the environment. Some of these chemicals are already established as environmental hazards. There is currently a trend towards alternative chemistries but still based on very limited knowledge about these chemistries.
Consumer products are a major diffuse source for chemicals. Our consumption of textiles and clothing is rapidly increasing and so this sector that has a large consumption of chemicals. The use of fluorinated compounds in clothing is due to their excellent water and dirt repellant properties. The SUPFES project focuses on fluorinated compounds and possible substitutions for these chemicals. The hypothesis of the project is that these consumer products are a major source of the diffuse emissions of persistent fluorinated compounds. Another hypothesis is that there are alternative ways to obtain these functions with less environmental impact.
Stockholm University, Chalmers University of Technology, Vrije University Amsterdam, Outdoor company Haglöfs, Käppala, RISE