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PFCs Alpine lakes not as pristine as they appear

As part of a worldwide study on PFCs, Greenpeace has found traces of the harmful chemicals used in waterproof clothing in Swiss alpine lakes. (SRF/

The Macun lake plateau, with its more than 20 small mountain lakes, is part of Switzerland’s only national park. The lakes have been the subject of a study of per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) that involved research in remote locations in 10 countries worldwide. Greenpeace scientists found traces of PFCs in all the snow samples they analysed.

PFCs are a broad group of chemical substances used in many industrial processes, especially in the waterproofing of outdoor clothing. Cause for concern is the fact that once released in the environment they accumulate for years and only degrade slowly.

Some PFCs have known toxic properties, including harm to the reproductive and hormonal systems, and are thought to promote the growth of tumours.
The ‘Madrid Statement’ - signed by 200 scientists from 38 countries in May this year – raises concerns about the increasing production and release into the environment of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).

Greenpeace has launched the Detox Outdoorexternal link campaign calling on the outdoor industry to phase out PFCs.