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The substitution of Per- and Polyfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) in water repellent clothing


In 2012 the Tchibo GmbH finally decided to eliminate Per- and Polyfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) in production of apparel. For rain and outdoor wear an alternative finishing is used.

Substituted substance(s)

  1. Perfluorinated compounds (PFC)

    CAS No.  EC No.  Index No. 

Alternative substance(s)

  1. Paraffin waxes

    CAS No. 8002-74-2 EC No. 232-315-6 Index No. 
  2. Oxime-blocked isocyanate

    CAS No.  EC No.  Index No. 
  3. Melamine resin fat modified

    CAS No.  EC No.  Index No. 

Other type of alternative

Reliability of information

Evidence of implementation: there is evidence that the solution was implemented and in use at time of publication

Hazard assessment

None of the alternative chemicals are listed on the Substance Database according to SUBSPORT Screening Criteria (SDSC). According to the MSDS, the alternative product may produce an allergic reaction. It is free of PFC.
No details on the substituted products were known to SUBSPORT.

» Check the Substance Database according to SUBSPORT Screening Criteria (SDSC)

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Substitution description

Tchibo GmbH decided to eliminate PFC-finishings for water and stain repellent clothing in 2012. Since 2013 the company has been using only PFC-free finishing for outdoor textiles. For rain and outdoor wear the finishing “ecorepel®” from Schoeller Technologies AG is used. Production, usage and placing in the market of PFOS are forbidden (1 μg/m² in textiles and coated materials) in Europe according to 850/2004/EG („POP“- regulation), changed by EU-regulation 757/2010. PFOA and PFOS are listed as SVHC substances.

PFCs are tested on a regular basis in the final products. To raise the awareness also for cross contaminations from and during production, suppliers have been informed. The usage ban for PFCs has been extended in 2015 to ensure that the company articles are not contaminated.
The company continued to request more information with regards to the chemical finishes which are applied to the company products and developed a finishing questionnaire. The questionnaire is completed by the finishing suppliers, if Tchibo does not yet have any experience with the finishing product. Based on the results of the questionnaire, the company creates a selection of approved finishing sorted in the different application categories.
To maintain consistent quality standards of the active wear from the company, which is the most important product category for water repellent finishing, only ecorepel® is used. Only the oil repellency, which is relevant e.g. for ties or table cloth, is not given. Until today the company receives no negative feedback from the customers about changing from PFC to PFC-free finishing.

More Tchibo case stories for substitution of hazardous chemicals can be found here:

The company will enhance both training and auditing of suppliers in order to continuously improve the chemical management and phase out of hazardous chemicals in the supply chains.
For any chemical substitution the following conditions must be met:
– Significant information on hazardous intrinsic characteristics for the substance is available
– It is ensured and verified that the substitution is nonhazardous
– Application of the alternative formulation in the same process has been tested and the use of substitution can be technically implemented
The company will publish a revised case study after having gained more results about approved methods and alternative chemicals.

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Case/substitution evaluation

This case story from a user describes the substitution of perfluorinated compounds containing textile finish with an alternative PFC free finish.
The alternative substances were disclosed by the producer of alternative to SUBSPORT. None of these chemicals are listed on the SDSC. However, the alternative product may produce an allergic reaction (see MSDS).

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Other solutions

Dispersion of waxes and polyurethane polyesters can been used for footwear

Further information

MSDS of the alternative part 1
MSDS of the alternative part 2

Further languages available

Who provided the information

Type of information supplier


Tchibo GmbH
Überseering 18
D-22297 Hamburg

Publication source

Type of publication and availability 

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Comments from SUBSPORT users

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Publication or last update: 25.10.2016