Boardies are water repellent and quick-drying. But the chemical that makes them water-repellent is also a major pollutant. So we need to change our thinking on them.
Boardies and PFAS
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are chemicals used in many products because they repel water and stains. However, a growing number of scientists are expressing concern about these chemicals. The substances persist for a very long time. They seep into our water and soil, and may adversely impact people’s health and wildlife. And that’s the last thing we want to leave behind in the ocean after our swim.
Human health problems linked to certain PFAS exposure are many. The list goes on: kidney and testicular cancer, liver malfunction, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol. Also, ulcerative colitis, lower birth weight and size, obesity, and decreased immune response to vaccines. So, scientists have suggested a new framework to reduce harmful chemicals like PFAS.
The general rule here is that if isn’t essential, then manufacturers, please don’t use them. And we as consumers should not buy them.
The study was published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. It points out that it may be nice to have water-repelling surfer shorts. But in this instance water repellency is not essential. Other products that we should ditch include personal care products and cosmetics, food contact materials, and ski waxes.
Legitimate uses are things like fire-fighting foams, where lives are at stake. Some retailers and manufacturers are already taking voluntary measures to phase out the use of PFAS in their products.
Perhaps you’d just like to go with boardies that are made from recycled fishing nets? Surfers, choose boardies that take a little longer to try. The environment will thank you for it. ■