Q. What does PFAS stand for?

A. Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) The per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. Fluoropolymer coatings can be in a variety of products. These are also known as “Forever Chemicals” due to their inability to break down over time.


Q. Why is PFAS a big issue? Why should I care about PFAS? Why is exposure a concern?

A. Hundreds of everyday products are made with highly toxic fluorinated chemicals called PFAS. They build up in our bodies and never break down in the environment. Because they never break down, they will continue to remain a danger. Very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases.


Q. Why did the industry use PFAS chemicals in the first place?

A. PFAS chemicals are known for their characteristics to provide excellent repellency of water, heat, oil, dirt, grease, etc. Because of this, they were used by a lot of fabric manufacturers who could not get these characteristics any other way.


Q. Do you have any products that never had PFAS chemicals in them?

A. Yes, we have quite a few. All of our legacy products that have been around for 20+ years never contained any PFAS chemicals. Those are Top Gun, Top Gun 9, Top Gun FR, Top Gun FR Lite, Odyssey, Odyssey Lite, Odyssey FR and Softouch. You can use any of those products with the knowledge that the superior performance they always had will be unchanged, as there is not chemistry changes needed.


Q. Is this a Federal law?

A. As of now there is no Federal legislation. All laws and regulations are at the State level. This makes it a little more complicated as each State will have a unique set of regulations.


Q. Are there any exceptions in any of these State laws/regulations?

A. The short answer is yes. Many States have exceptions for fabrics in a specific end use. As an example, California specifically calls out boat covers as an end product that does NOT need to comply with the law. It also says “shade and architectural fabric structures” do not need to comply. It is best to consult the State the end product will be used to see what exceptions are available.


Q. When will it be required to not have any PFAS in fabrics?

A. As mentioned earlier, this is a State by State issue. Some States have already started to require reporting with, as of now, the earliest ban of products containing PFAS chemicals starting January 2025.


Q. Will I see any difference in fabric performance?

A. The short answer is yes. While there are differences in each fabric manufacturer’s approach and performance, generally speaking most PFAS Free chemicals currently being used do not offer as quite as good water repellency and do not offer any oil stain resistance. You also may notice a change in the hand of the fabric and the way the fabric crazes when it is folded. Please keep in mind, all fabric manufacturers continually work to improve performance and we would expect it to be that way with PFAS Free chemicals.


Q. How will I know if a particular roll I have is PFAS Free?

A. At this time, Marlen Textiles will not be identifying rolls as PFAS free. All part numbers will remain the same. The formula for all products that contained PFAS chemicals has been changed and any new production runs will be made using PFAS Free chemicals. If you need to know if a specific roll contains PFAS, contact us and we will let you know. Please note that all Top Gun, Top Gun 9, Top Gun FR, Top Gun FR Lite, Odyssey, Odyssey Lite, Odyssey FR & Softouch rolls are PFAS free as they never contained any of those chemicals.


Q. Should I keep scraps of PFAS and PFAS Free separate? Can I mix the product?

A. There is no technical reasons not to mix the products. However, for any fabric, you will likely notice a slight difference in hand and appearance between the PFAS and PFAS Free versions. Also, with potential State regulatory requirements that will not allow you to ship material containing PFAS chemicals, it is probably best to keep them separate and not mix them.


Q. Do I need to inform my customer that the fabric is PFAS Free? 

A. If you are sure the fabric you are using is PFAS Free, it is probably a good idea to make sure your customer knows that.


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