why it's important to know your chemistry

June 13, 2019 | Blog Post

Know Your Chemistry

Understanding Textile Chemistry

It is important to understand the quality of protection that you are applying to your furniture fabric. There are various products on the market that claim various levels of stain repellency or textile enhancements. Treatments can be an amazing and important addition to your textiles, but please take the time to know what you are sourcing.

Temporary Vs. Permanent

Some finishes are temporary and require re-application. For example, Scotchgard is a temporary protection application. The Scotchgard website explains that their product should be reapplied annually to ensure the best protection. This requires an environment to be exposed to toxins and sprays on an annual basis. Whereas a permanent treatment will last the life of the fiber and won’t off gas in the end use environment.

There are really toxic chemicals in the market place.

Know your chemistry and ask questions.

Know Your Chemistry

3M was recently sued for contaminating American water ways with toxic chemicals, PFOA & PFOS. Their product was purchased by Dupont/Teflon and is the basis of billion-dollar lawsuits.

The foundation of this chemistry was a C8 compound. This chemical has been banned in the US and Europe and is a known carcinogenic. C4 and C6 chemistries are safe to use and approved for use in US and Europe. Unfortunately, China, India and Turkey have not banned the use of C8 technology. This is allowing the C8 toxic chemicals to continue to enter the US and European markets because they are unknowingly being sourced into use by companies and designers who are unaware of the history of pollution and the dangers of C8 chemistry.

Knowing what C8 chemistry can do to the health and well being of the environment and all animals living off of it, including humans, it is of urgent priority to always be aware of what chemistry is on sourced textiles.

Many US based fabric companies are sourcing their textiles from mills abroad with mill applied chemistries. Always ask for details as generics in the market place are of great concerns.


Don’t take our word for it.

Read the research.

There is a great deal of research to review on these subjects. We recommend you watch the informational documentary, The Devil We Know, found now on Netflix.

Additionally, please feel free to follow the links provided to learn more.



According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)


“These studies indicate that exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants (e.g., low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations), cancer (e.g., testicular, kidney), liver effects (e.g., tissue damage), immune effects (e.g., antibody production and immunity), thyroid effects and other effects (e.g., cholesterol changes).”

“3M agreed to pay a $1,521,481 penalty for 244 separate counts under TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act). As a result of the audit, 3M has corrected a number of violations, including failures to notify EPA on new chemicals, late reporting on substantial risk information, and other reporting violations. During the course of the audit, 3M produced valuable, previously unreported information that will help the scientific community to better understand the presence of toxic substances in the environment.”

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control)


“Although the United States and most industrialized nations have stopped producing PFOA and PFOS, China remains a major producer and user of both substances, and its production has increased as production in the rest of the world has declined (HAES 2017; Li et al. 2015; Lim et al. 2011).” Pg.534
“The 3M Company was the principal worldwide manufacturer of PFOS and related chemicals. As a result of its phase-out decision in May 2000, 3M no longer manufactures perfluorooctanyl compounds (PFOA and PFOS). The company ceased manufacturing and using the vast majority of these compounds within approximately 2 years of the phase-out announcement and ceased all manufacturing and the last significant use of this chemistry by the end of 2008 (3M 2008a; EPA 2007a).” – pg. 540

In Summary

Never trust that just because you are sourcing the fabric from a reputable US or European textile company that it is free of dangerous chemicals. Always ask for specifics and request treatment with a known brand of textile technology that is US based. It is important to remember that when aligning with a brand, you are making a statement to your consumers that you believe in the product and are backing its performance and environmental responsibility with your brand.

There are different options on the market that will provide safe and permanent stain repellency solutions along with improved textile durability. Look to a product like, Alta™ , which uses less chemistry to create exceptional repellency to water and oil based stains. Alta is also permanent and free of environmental contaminants like PFOA & PFOSs.

To learn more about these issues and alternative technologies like Alta™, please call the Alta™ hotline at 1-866-891-6266.

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