What are the environmental impacts of gore-tex fabric?
Being a synthetic and man-made material, Gore-Tex fabric has a serious negative impact on the environment. The production of PTFE is not only harmful to the environment but also to the textile workers who manufacture them. Also, to keep the Gore-Tex fabric breathable, a chemical called DWR has to be periodically sprayed over the fabric. This DWR chemical is a very harmful chemical and is known to be an environmental toxin.
The manufacturing process of PTFE or Teflon emits a variety of harmful gases. Moreover, PTFE is often used in its powder form and if this powder or dust is inhaled by human beings, it may lead to harmful effects on human lungs and nervous systems. The inhalation can also lead to a serious condition known as polymer fume fever.
The production process of PTFE is highly wasteful and the unusable PTFE is often sent to landfills. If this substance remains in the ecosystem for too long, it seeps into the surroundings and gets degraded into trifluoroacetate (TFA). This chemical is harmful to the growth of plants. PTFE is also not biodegradable and remains in the environment for many years. When this chemical breaks down, it degrades into toxins that pollute the environment. The recycling process of PTFE material is more expensive than the production cost of new PTFE material. Hence, recycling of PTFE is not preferred in many cases.