Whereas studying a latest story from Joshua Bergan about wader care, over in Fly Fisherman Journal, I got here throughout this quote: “As a result of the sturdy water repellent (DWR) therapies presently in use by all producers include PFAS, off-the-shelf breathable waterproof outerwear efficiency will doubtless regress within the close to future.”
I’ve written about PFAS not too long ago for MidCurrent, and I’m personally and professionally intrigued to see how the upcoming PFAS bans play out. In keeping with all the present analysis, PFAS are “eternally chemical compounds” that persist within the atmosphere in perpetuity. They’ve even been linked to some cancers in people, which has lead California to be on the forefront of banning these chemical compounds.
However as Bergan famous in his story, this implies we’ll doubtless see a right away drop-off in “breathable waterproof outwear efficiency” within the coming years. Your raincoat may not be as 100% waterproof, and your new waders may not be, both. That’s of explicit concern to fly anglers, since waders permit us to entry the water in a spread methods all year long.
I’ve posited earlier that this ban may develop into a net-positive for anglers, as a result of it should drive wader firms to innovate and discover PFAS-free options so as to add to the waterproofing strategy of wader materials.
What most individuals don’t totally perceive about waders, nevertheless, is that it’s not simply the coatings that completely different firms use on the materials that make them waterproof. It’s the development of the material itself that makes it breathable for air, however not water. To cite one other Fly Fisherman Journal article, this one by Ross Purnell, “The micro-porous membrane blocks water molecules from getting into, however permits (smaller) water vapor to move, and the heat of your physique creates that vapor and even forces it out of the waders as a result of colder temperature on the surface.”
What the present DWR coatings do is assist additional waterproof and defend the material of a wader from saturating, and subsequently not respiratory, as successfully because it ought to. The lack of these coatings as a result of PFAS bans will inhibit the breathability till a brand new answer is discovered, however received’t straight affect how waterproof your waders truly are.
And, as Bergan notes in his story, two firms are presently engaged on PFAS-free DWR coatings. In actuality, we might not see a lot of a drop-off, in any case.