Nine in 10 outdoor apparel products in a global study by Greenpeace contain perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), a family of carcinogenic chemicals.
One of these chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), was found in Patagonia Torentshell waterproof pants and The North Face Hedgehog Hike Mid GTX outdoor shoes, Apple Daily reports, citing a survey by the environmental group.
Both are sold in Hong Kong along with 33 other products from 11 brands in the study.
Greenpeace tested 40 products and dozens of related articles such as gloves, jackets and tents.
It found that Patagonia pants have 2.4 micrograms of PFOA per square meter, almost 2.5 times higher than the safety standard in Norway, where the apparel originates.
Greenpeace said 36 of the 40 products were found to contain PFCs.
Haglöfs Grym HI GT Men, a pair of outdoor shoes from Norway not sold in Hong Kong, had traces of 16 types of PFCs.
About 18.35 micrograms of PFOA were found per square meter of shoe sample, 17 times higher than the Norwegian standard.
PFCs are synthetic compounds commonly used in waterproof and dirt-repellant outdoor wear.
Carcinogens are released during the production process and could end up in the bloodstream if they enter the food chain.
Greenpeace Asia campaigner Andy Chu said the manufacturers concerned pledged to study the survey results but would not say if they will stop using the chemicals.
He said international brands should serve as role models for other manufacturers, adding that many outdoor products are now made without harmful chemicals.
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