View topic - is my waterproof breathable jacket harmful to my health?

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PostPosted: February 20th, 2006, 12:54 pm 
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Location: Missouri, U.S.A
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By the way, I am looking for a rainjacket. I would like to find what was considered a regular rain jacket when I was a kid in the 80s. Just a good quality coated nylon with a back vent. I have found these to be more durable and leak proof than gore tex. I had a gore tex jacket that has leaked ever since it was badly soiled a few times (I have tried the drier, iron and gore tex spray). The MEC deluge is perfect, except it is lacking the back vent. I have found stuff at Canadian Tire as well, but it looks like it would fall apart pretty fast. Anyone have any suggestions? Even better, I am open to any natural/traditional material suggestions any of you may have.


I believe it is possible to avoid goretex and still have waterproof/breathable, if you like. Marmot Precip, for example, is polyurethane based, according to their website. There are probably others as well.

I'm curious, however, about the factory DWR treatments put on outdoor gear. I believe these are, to a large extent, fluorocarbon based. They seem to eventually wear off - where do they go? I don't know enough about it to guess at whether they would be harmful if you absorbed them into your skin, or if they break down into PFOA.


Last edited by Been Digging on February 21st, 2006, 12:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: February 20th, 2006, 6:11 pm 
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flyrod wrote:
wotrock wrote:
I try to avoid any rivers taht have high concentrations of DHMO.


It's used in the manufacture of styrofoam for crying out loud! You're bathing your baby in it! It's gotten into our groundwater!

Just wouldn't be a problem if we kept the population from growing!!

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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 8:18 am 
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So... 6 years later!

In light of recent research, just wondering if anyone has looked into which, if any, of the current waterproof breathable technologies do not use PFCs? I need a new jacket and since I have children and am not fond of diphtheria, I figure I should go PFC free, just to be on the safe side.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/pfc-vaccine-microwave-popcorn-bag_n_1232254.html

First two paragraphs:
"Certain vaccines may not work as well in children who have been exposed to high levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), a family of chemicals used to make everything from microwave popcorn bags and pizza boxes to carpets and nonstick cookware, new research suggests.

In a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that the higher the level of PFCs in a child's blood, the fewer antibodies the child produced after receiving vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus. In addition, kids with higher PFC exposure were more likely than their peers to have antibody levels too low to provide protection against those infectious diseases."

p.s. I looked on the Marmot website (see Been Diggin's post above) but where do you find the PFC-free information?


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 5:04 pm 
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It's an interesting study but is it "real world" in regards to diphtheria cases?

Health Canada states that there are between 0 and 5 cases of diphtheria each year in Canada. That number needs to be graphed against PFC usage to see if the number of 0 to 5 was lower in pre-PFC years.

ted

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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 8:12 pm 
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I think there are (thankfully) too few cases in Canada and the US to see any trend (none in US since 2003). What about a country like India, which is developed enough to have both widespread vaccination and use of PFCs (is that fair to say?). India also happens to have the world's highest number of diphtheria cases. In what timeframe would use of PFCs be considered widespread?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Diphtheria-resurgence-in-India/Article1-413540.aspx

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/14/7/07-1167_article.htm


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 9:34 pm 
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Well, since only 0.0014% (about 7,000) of the approximately 500 million (roughly 1/2 billion) non-vaccinated people in India got diphtheria, I think that it would impossible to draw any PFC conclusions from there either.

I tried to find out how many people actually got diphtheria in the Faroe Islands. I can't find any conclusive, only that there have been no cases in "decades". What I did find, however, were studies on the high amounts of mercury and PCBs found in the same children as this PFC study. These studies also showed that higher levels of mercury and PCBs also "caused" depressed DPT vaccinations immune responses. I can't see anyone determining which single chemical/metal caused the depressed response or if it was a combination of all of three.
As whale meat is the culprit for the Faroe Islanders ingestion of PFCs, PCB, and mercury, I'd say Save the Whales.
Ted

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 12:13 am 
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save the whales indeed - in my "drive by googling" i skipped over the important fact of a 50% vaccination rate in India. But I learned something else important - after age 16, booster for everyone required every ten years! I think I am a few shots behind.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 8:26 am 
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so i read the full article published in JAMA this morning and while the authors did measure and adjust for PCBs, there is no mention of mercury. Thanks Ted for that research! If anyone wants the full aritcle I can email you the pdf.

this is reassuring to me that there is a possible confounding factor, as i sit here in my DWR finished pants on my scotch guarded couch eating breakfast I cooked in a teflon pan, with the family's 4 gore-tex jackets hanging in the closet! Not to mention a shameful past that includes ingestion of microwave popcorn.

Bottom line though - if there was a decent NON-PFC waterproof breathable technology, I would try it over gore-tex.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 8:37 am 
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Bottom line though - if there was a decent NON-PFC waterproof breathable technology, I would try it over gore-tex.


There's a traditional garb called Loden. Made from wool, expensive, and heavy when wet.

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from Wikipedia:
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Loden cape
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Loden cape is coat of Tyrolean origin, made of a thick, water resistant woollen material with a short pile, first produced by peasants from Austria. The fabric is derived from the coarse, oily wool of mountain sheep and has a traditional bluish-green colour.

To produce Loden fabric, strong yarns are woven loosely into cloth which then undergoes a lengthy process of shrinking, eventually acquiring the texture of felt and becoming quite dense. It is then brushed with a fuller's teasel and the nap is clipped, a process which is repeated a number of times until the fabric is lightweight, supple, windproof and extremely durable

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 8:53 am 
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http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/article ... works.html

Mention of e vent..

I am confused as no one eats their rainwear and jackets are typically mesh and nylon lined. Yes I understand the concern over Teflon cookware..you can eat bits of Teflon as it flakes and wears off.

Old timers used oilskin. I am not looking for a new technology..when we run from one to another sooner or later the new one comes up with supposed chemical pitfalls.

As a kid my dad had all sorts of rocks and minerals and one of the things I loved to do was play with blobs of mercury..so it goes.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 5:42 pm 
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I would like to introduce into all high school curricula, a course on evaluating population versus personal risk. A risk that is of significance from a public health point of view may be a diminishingly small concern for the individual. People also need benchmarks when evaluating risk. How does risk from an obscure chemical compare with smoking, or with driving a car?

I want to be paid a dollar (or a looney) for every time a news source says that such-and-such increases risk of so-and-so by thus and such a percentage, without stating what the base rate is for so-and-so. Even doubling a risk may be of no practical concern when the base rate is quite small.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 6:36 pm 
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I agree the never ending stream of news stories on this and that health effect can wear you down - haha, however i don't mind a little paranoia now and then, I'd rather be informed.

Also, PFCs are not obscure, they are pervasive. Also the low incidence of diphtheria is really not that relevant here - the study findings are that exposure to certain chemicals lowers immune response to childhood vaccines, in this case in children aged 5 to 7 in an examination of tetanus and diphtheria antibodies. I gather from what I've read, this fact of lowered immune reponse due to chemical exposure (PFCs, PCBs, mercury, who knows what) has been known for a while.

Anyway, this is an issue I'm going to try to keep up with and stay informed.

Here is an excerpt from the study that explains it better than I could.

"FLUORINE-SUBSTITUTE ORganic compounds have thousands
of important industrial and manufacturing applications
and occur widely in surfactants and repellants in food packaging and
textile impregnation. The perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are highly
persistent and cause contamination of drinking water, food, and food chains.
The most common PFCs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, sometimes called
C8), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), and perfluorohexane sulfonic
acid (PFHxS), have elimination half-lives in humans of at least 4 years
and are commonly detected in human serum. Perfluorinated compounds are transferred
through the placenta, and postnatal exposure sources include human milk
and house dust."

Thanks littleredcanoe for that extremely informative article from REI - bookmarked for a closer read! Also for the oilskin coats links, I hear they are supposed to last forever.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 7:01 pm 
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"The most common PFCs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, sometimes called
C8), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), and perfluorohexane sulfonic
acid (PFHxS), have elimination half-lives in humans of at least 4 years
and are commonly detected in human serum. Perfluorinated compounds are transferred
through the placenta, and postnatal exposure sources include human milk
and house dust."

Still doesn't tell me whether I should be concerned, or how concerned I ought to be. I take Teflon regularly, for regularity.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 9:09 pm 
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The problem is that it makes very little sense to teach high schoolers about risk when we know so little about the synergistic chronic impact of muti-contaminants in our lives. There are lots of toxicological studies on individual chemicals.... but we in the environmental assessment business understand very little about how the many chemicals we come in contact with on a daily basis impact our chronic health. This is to say that we know virtually nothing about how your cold medicine impacts your breathing the chemicals leaching from the plastics in your car, and the cleaning solution you used yesterday to clean your bathroom shower. I'm not saying that everything is dangerous... I'm just telling you that the people you think know what all these chemicals are doing and are protecting you, know virtually nothing about how all the chemicals we use every day will impact us 50 years from now. I suspect that we will learn alot more about this risk in the years to come, and I also suspect that many of the millions who die from cancer will ultimately be tied to the everyday chemicals we use in ignorance today.

PK

PK


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 11:39 pm 
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I don't agree. It is true that multiple factors would be beyond most people. But there are plenty of one or two factor situations where such teaching would be helpful. One is in evaluating the advice given by NOAA that we huddle indoors until half an hour after we last hear thunder. Another came up on our local river, the Chattahoochee. The Park Service was estimating e coli from water turbidity, and posting "High Risk" at every put-in when their estimate indicated at least a one in one hundred risk of getting some sort of infection, based on California studies. A one in one hundred risk (even if based on reality) is so small that it would be difficult to design a study to confirm it. Of course, us river users weren't getting sick. Should a risk level be described as "High" when it may be only one in one hundred? When people hear the actual quantitative estimate, most will say they'll go paddling or fishing anyway.

A good part of the resistance of teens to advice about illegal drugs arises because we don't show them the actual data, which is quite available, if imperfect. Teens sense that we are BS-ing them, and they go out to find out themselves.


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