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Denmark wants to ban PFAS in clothing and shoes

By Simone Preuss


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AI illustrating image - PFAS use in the fashion industry, focusing on the water-repellent effect on fabrics. Credits: created by FashionUnited with an AI tool.

As part of a new action plan on the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the Danish government has proposed to introduce a national ban on PFAS in clothing, footwear and sealants, as these are one of the largest sources of PFAS in the local environment. Notably, PFAS in workwear and safety clothing should not be affected by the ban.

"We must take the lead in working to limit PFAS at the source. A national ban will benefit our health and the environment in Denmark," commented Environment Minister Magnus Heunicke in a statement.

PFAS belong to the so-called "eternal chemicals", as they are difficult to break down and therefore spread everywhere in the environment. There they are absorbed by plants and animals, which become food and are eaten by humans. In the long term, PFAS can weaken the immune system, cause hormonal disorders and are suspected of increasing the risk of cancer.

"A national ban on the import and sale of clothing, footwear and waterproofing products containing PFAS is an important step towards limiting emissions and will have a real impact on the environment in Denmark. It also sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that we need to phase out these substances wherever possible," added Heunicke.

Denmark joins four other EU countries in backing this proposal - along with Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The national ban on PFAS in clothing, footwear and waterproofing products is to remain in force until the expected EU ban comes into force.

Speciality textiles do not (yet) manage without PFAS

The German Textile and Fashion Industry Association, Textil+Mode, criticised the chemicals policy of the European Union and Germany, as around 12,000 chemical substances could soon be banned, including 10,000 substances from the PFAS restriction procedure launched in March last year alone.

Speciality textiles (not outdoor clothing, which is already manufactured with fluorine-free alternatives across the board) cannot (yet) do without PFAS. These are used, for example, for firefighters' suits, bulletproof vests for the police, virus-repellent textiles in medicine, membranes for hydrogen production, highly effective environmental filters and more. They must fulfil the highest legally prescribed safety and performance standards and be manufactured in Germany and Europe under strict environmental and safety requirements.

For the industry association, the ban on PFAS is tantamount to a ban on the production of technical textiles in Germany and Europe and therefore a ban on the production of companies that manufacture speciality textiles.

An announcement regarding the ban is expected on 1 July 2025. The Danish government is proposing to grant companies a transitional period of one year so that the ban will apply from 1 July 2026.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.DE. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.