Test Your Products for PFAS with a Water Droplet

PFAS are everywhere. Recently, our partners at Toxic-Free Future found 72% of products labeled stain- and water-resistant contain PFAS. (Read the report here.)

The Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff Lab developed a quick test to see if your products may be treated with PFAS. 

(Unfamiliar with PFAS? Check out the Facts About PFAS.)

PFAS treatments cause the fabric to strongly repel water. If you drop a water droplet onto a PFAS-treated fabric, it will bead up, roll around, and typically leaves no residue. In contrast, a droplet dropped onto an untreated fabric will soak in.

A “positive” water drop result does not definitely indicate PFAS. Non-PFAS alternatives exist. For example, a Clek-brand car seat tested by our Healthy Stuff Lab showed a “positive” result with the droplet beading up and rolling because the C-zero fabric has a proprietary non-PFAS treatment. Another alternative is wool and wool-blend fabrics, which are naturally water-repellent to varying degrees. 

Get Involved

If you suspect your product has PFAS, get involved by asking the retailer or manufacturer to remove PFAS from all of their products. Call on your favorite retailers to “Mind the Store.” When retailers like REI continue to sell PFAS-containing products, they contribute to the contamination of our communities and drinking water. 

–> Take action today and sign our petition to REI at MindTheStore.org.

You can also avoid buying apparel and home furnishings that advertise stain or water resistance. Our tests found that many items marketed as stain-resistant, from clothing to bedding, tablecloths, and napkins, are treated with PFAS. Instead, choose washable items. 

About Healthy Stuff

The Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff Lab tests everyday household items for toxic chemicals and reports on its findings. To learn more about PFAS in products, check out our recent report, Still Cooking: An Update on Toxic PFAS in Cookware Products. Stay tuned for our report coming in Spring 2022 on toxic chemicals, including PFAS, in car seats.