Thai activists call for ban on hazardous PFAS in textile industryLegacy

Calls for the prohibition of Per-and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS), perilous chemicals found in the textile industry and other goods, have been made by activists.

The campaigners argue that such a ban would generate awareness amongst customers who require environmentally friendly products for their health and the welfare of our planet.

Thitikorn Boontongmai, Ecological Alert and Recover-Thailand (Earth) Planning Manager, highlighted that PFAS are already outlawed in several countries, whilst others have instigated campaigns to combat their usage. Studies indicate that PFAS can have damaging effects on human fertility and infant development, with the added issue of remaining almost permanently within the environment.

Thitikorn revealed that his organisation, in collaboration with the Foundation for Consumers, undertook a study investigating PFAS contamination in textiles within Thailand. This study formed part of a wider global investigation into PFAS within the textile sector, conducted by the independent organisation, the International Pollutants Elimination Network (Ipen).

The combined research involved 13 countries, including Thailand. From 2021 to 2023, 56 jackets and a further 16 clothing items were gathered and subsequently sent for PFAS laboratory testing. The results demonstrated that over half of these items exhibited signs of PFAS contamination, largely due to their oil and water-resistant properties.

Thitikorn disclosed that Earth submitted six jackets sourced from various outlets for testing, with all six showing signs of chemical treatment. He added that Earth has also analysed underwear since 2013, with the outcome revealing an overabundance of harmful chemicals, reported Bangkok Post.

“The familiarity of PFAS amongst Thai consumers is relatively low. It is crucial to heighten awareness of the health implications that these substances can cause. The government should enforce a ban on these hazardous chemicals to safeguard both the public and the environment.”

Tasanee Nan-udon, the deputy director of the Foundation for Consumers, expressed concern over the discovery of PFAS contamination in clothing designed for infants and children. Both organisations are urging the government to ban PFAS and promote the utilisation of safer chemicals. They argue that even if there’s a need for financial assistance to facilitate this transition, it is a necessary step to take.

The story Thai activists call for ban on hazardous PFAS in textile industry as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Mitch Connor