On February 28th, a consortium meeting of MIDWOR-LIFE project was held in CETIM facilities in A Coruña, Spain, with the participation of all project partners. Additionally, the External Advisory Board of the project attended to this meeting as part of the project strategy to gather vital inputs for the later stage of the project and beyond. The members present were Mr. Mauro Scalia, Manager of Sustainable Businesses at EURATEX, Mr. Germán Garcia, Sustainability Manager at Inditex, and Dr. Giorgio Rovero, professor at Politecnico di Torino.
On January 29, part of the industrial demonstration tests of the MIDWOR-LIFE project were carried out in the finishing company Hidrocolor. The company collaborates together with 5 other finishing textile companies from Spain, Italy and Czech Republic who will validate safer and environmentally-friendlier DWORs in the frame of the project.
MIDWOR-LIFE project was present at the first edition of the Technical Textile Meetings Morocco.
AEI TÈXTILS, MIDWOR-LIFE coordinator, distributed project leaflets during the event which took place in Casablanca on 22nd and 23rd November 2017.
On October 4th, a major milestone of the MIDWOR-LIFE project was achieved with the first industrial demonstration of alternative DWORs at Tintoria Finissaggio 2000 (TF2000) manufacturing plant in Italy. TF2000 is one of the 6 textile finishing companies that collaborate with the MIDWOR-LIFE project on the industrial validation of safer and environmentally friendlier DWOR products.
On October 3rd, a consortium meeting of MIDWOR-LIFE project was held in Città Studi facilities in Biella, organized by the Italian partner Pointex, with the participation from all project partners.
The meeting began with the presentations of the progress and outcomes obtained for each action during the last 6 months. Alongside the up-to-date results, each partner also presented their proposed action plan for the coming months. After each action presentation, a discussion was opened among all the participants to evaluate and propose guidelines for next steps.
Main results for this semester are the release of deliverable B1.1: “Report on the pre-industrial applications and characterization of DWOR and alternatives” and the addition of three new alternative Durable Water and Oil Repellent (DWOR) products to be studied during the project, the internal publication of deliverable C3.1 “Preliminary report on cost-efficiency methodology and system defined”, the progress on the environmental impact model development and the layout description of the web tool.
From June 18th to June 22nd ICCE 2017 conference took place in Oslo, Norway.
ICCE is the International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment which provides a unique information and communication platform for environmental scientists and a forum of professional exchange with collaborators and colleagues from related disciplines.
A MIDWOR introduction and description of the commercial alternatives of using perfluorinated chemicals containing chains of 7 or 8 perfluorinated carbons in textiles was presented by Àngels Rovira, researcher from LEITAT, on the Sustainable Environmental Chemistry session of the conference.
MIDWOR-LIFE project participated at the Dornbirn Man-made Fibers Congress that was held from 13th to 15th September 2017.
Dornbirn-MFC is the global flagship event and innovation platform where around 800 researchers and technicians from 30 nations have met this year.
This year’s Congress focused around four main topics: Fiber innovations; Fibers, textiles and nonwovens for hygienic and healthcare applications; Fibers, textiles and nonwovens for protective applications; and Fibers, textiles and nonwovens for sports and leisure wear.
On March 15th, the MIDWOR-LIFE project team, coordinated by AEI Tèxtils – the technical textile cluster of Catalonia- and Euratex co-organized a workshop at the Casa de la Seda in Barcelona, as part of its wider an overall strategy towards the replacement of harmful chemicals in textile industry.
The workshop gathered participants from the chemical industry, textile associations, testing laboratories and research institutes. The aims of the workshop were twofold: to present the latest MIDWOR results assessing safer alternatives to durable water and oil repellants (DWORs) such as PFOA and PFOS in textile industry and to launch a first discussion on the matter by bringing together European experts with different competencies and perspectives. Read more
In the face of unpredictable weather conditions, waterproof jackets have become key items in many people’s wardrobes.
But new research from the University of Leeds suggests that the use of controversial fluorochemicals in the manufacture of most of these garments may be unnecessary.
The chemistry used to repel rain from fabric has raised concerns from European legislative bodies, academia, and environmentalists.
As well as posing potential risks to the environment, fluorocarbons have also been associated with health problems in humans.
Some clothing brands have switched to alternative chemistries, but many have claimed it is challenging to meet other repellency requirements – such as stain resistance and oil repellency – without the use of fluorochemicals.
Research from Leeds’ School of Design, published in the journal Chemosphere, has for the first time compared the performance of fabrics with newer, alternative finishes alongside ones treated with fluorocarbons.
In addition to subjecting samples of 22 different fabrics to extensive chemical analysis and testing, the Leeds team surveyed 575 outdoor enthusiasts who regularly participate in hiking, trekking, mountaineering, and hill-walking, about how they used such clothing.
“Most studies just look at technical aspects or environmental pollution, but we wanted to see what consumers considered the most important factors in choosing outdoor clothing,” said Philippa Hill, whose PhD research is the subject of the paper.
“We found that 82% of people considered water repellency to be the most important factor, but the majority of people were indifferent to levels of stain resistance and oil repellency – one participant even said ‘I don’t get oily when walking’,” added Miss Hill.
Dr Richard Blackburn heads the Sustainable Materials Research Group at Leeds, a world-leading centre in sustainable textiles research.
He said: “We concluded that the use of fluorochemicals in outdoor apparel represents over-engineering, providing oil repellency that is in excess of user requirements.
“Significant environmental and toxicological benefits could be achieved by switching outdoor apparel to non-fluorinated finishes without a significant reduction in garment water-repellency performance.”
Leeds’ School of Design has a long-standing relationship with the outdoor industry and used world-class in-house clothing testing facilities to compare the performance of fabric samples supplied by various manufacturers and brands, which were finished with either fluorochemicals, non-fluorinated chemistry, or were untreated.
Performance clothing lecturer Dr Mark Taylor, also from the School of Design, said: “We found water repellency ratings were similar across the range of all finished fabrics tested. Non-fluorinated finishes provided no oil repellency, as expected.”
Sustainability is a growing concern within the textile and clothing industry, which uses a quarter of all the chemicals produced across the globe. They are used to alter fabric properties such as feel, flame-retardancy and water-repellency, as well as colour.
Dr Blackburn added: “It’s very important that sustainability should be about better chemistry. Consumers don’t need to compromise on performance for the sake of the environment. However, for all products and processes we have to weigh up if the requirements we are aiming for are fit for purpose.”
Once economies of scale kicked in, he said the relatively new-to-market non-fluorinated fabrics were unlikely to be more expensive than their counterparts.
The team’s conclusions are being explored by further research into the effects of laundering, abrasion and aging on the various fabrics.
Pamela Ravasio is Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability with the European Outdoor Group, which represents the sector.
She said: “The European Outdoor Group welcomes this new research, which adds scientific insight and data to this complex and multi-faceted issue. One of the key challenges we encounter as an industry is that there is very little reliable, scientifically-based data available.
“This limits understanding of the long-term environmental and health impacts of the new chemistries – such knowledge is also critical to avoid new chemistries being introduced which turn out to be even more harmful than those they replace.
“We look forward to further research that will increase knowledge and contribute to better technologies.”
The objective of Action B1 is to perform the application and characterization of selected DWORs on the selected fabrics. The first phase of this Action, the application at pre-industrial scale, has finished and presents a report with the finding of the tests of 2 conventional DWOR and 9 alternatives for 5 different applications; sportswear, automotive, fashion, workwear, and upholstery.
The characterization has been done through the following tests:
The complete report can be downloaded here.