- Apr 16, 2019 at 2:26 am #3588983Rusty BeaverBPL Member
Cool. Thanks Eric. But what did that test tell you and us, exactly? And how do you know regular ol’ down wouldn’t have done the same thing?
Not trying to be an ass. I’m genuinely curious.Sep 25, 2019 at 10:43 pm #3611718
Has anyone read anything credible on the possible health dangers of regular or intermittent exposure to the chemicals in treated down?Sep 26, 2019 at 9:43 pm #3611827Dena KelleyBPL Member
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
As Eric mentions above, Eddie Bauer still uses DriDown. The Peak XV coat I purchased this spring is my first piece of gear with DriDown.Sep 26, 2019 at 9:58 pm #3611828Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
Used plenty in hammock under quiltsSep 27, 2019 at 7:14 pm #3611902Katherine .BPL Member
This statement from UGQ about clumping made me cautious about treated down:
“UltimaDOWN is not a hydrophobic treated down. Although we have offered hydrophobic treated down in the past, we have weighed the benefits vs. drawbacks carefully, and have recently stopped offering WR down. The benefits, which are marginal at best in real world scenarios, are offset by lower loft, intra laundering clumping, and the need for more down to offset the lower lofting and possible clumping. Effective April 11, 2016, we will no longer use hydrophobic down in our products.”
I’m considering Nuntak’s Nebula for my next quilt purchase. It’s their hybrid Apex/down quilt. (and i’d opt for untreated).Sep 28, 2019 at 12:05 am #3611926
This seemed like a good summarySep 30, 2019 at 6:47 pm #3612205Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I did not have any non-DWR teated down to compare with the DWR treated down in my impromptu experiment. As you can tell I was very impressed with the DWR treated down. Ripstop By The Roll says their DWR is what The North Face uses.
I’ll take a bit of extra weight of DWR treated down (IF indeed that is true of all DWR down treatments) to fend off the higher weight of accumulated moisture on non-treated down.
As for Mountain Equipment and other down garment vendors’ statements that DWR treated down “doesn’t last long” I’ll accept that for a few years of decent hydrophobic performance. Then I’m back to the untreated down situation, which many vendors find very acceptable.
My Western Mountaineering Megalite 3 season mummy and Eddie Bauer Down Sweater are non-DWR treated down and function well. But my LL Bean -20 down mummy has DWR treated down and I’ll take that B/C it’s in winter when I most need it. Also my EB Peak XV expedition parka has DWR treated downed and, again, I’ll take that for the more severe conditions in which I’ll use it.Oct 3, 2019 at 2:58 am #3612447Rusty BeaverBPL Member
“Has anyone read anything credible on the possible health dangers of regular or intermittent exposure to the chemicals in treated down?”
That or any other “treatment” used on outdoor gear. I remember purchasing a sleeping bag from a company that shall remain unnamed…using a new and cool shell material. Everyone was talking about it. Neater than peanut butter, one would think. Upon handling, I noticed that it felt odd. Then, what ever it was treated with made my fingers feel odd. What ever it was, couldn’t even easily be washed off with soap and water. I sent the bag back for a refund. But I heard no one else say anything about this weird treatment. And this isn’t the only piece of gear that has made my fingers feel weird. This bag just happened to be the worst.
It’s all consumer driven, in my humble opinion. If consumers don’t speak up, the companies will not do anything. I think people should question this sort of stuff more often. We shouldn’t assume it’s not without health concerns just because it’s on the store shelves.Oct 4, 2019 at 7:26 pm #3612646bradmacmtBPL Member
Frankly I’m stunned anyone would want to wrap themselves in a chemically treated down bag for an 8 hours sleep…Oct 4, 2019 at 7:40 pm #3612649Chris RBPL Member
Everything is made of chemicalsOct 4, 2019 at 10:09 pm #3612658
“Frankly I’m stunned anyone would want to wrap themselves in a chemically treated down bag for an 8 hours sleep…”
Maybe it’s safe, but I do worry sometimes. This is the major reason I haven’t used drydown. I also have a WM microfiber bag so I can avoid having to reapply DWR. I suppose there’s no avoiding it, but wrapping myself up in it just sounds risky. If it worked as well as the marketing claims say, I’d probably jump on board, since it could in that case be a life-saver.Oct 4, 2019 at 10:34 pm #3612659bradmacmtBPL Member
Everything is made of chemicals
Brilliant… you drink Acetone with every meal too, right?Oct 4, 2019 at 10:58 pm #3612663
Water IS a chemical. So is oxygen.
CheersOct 5, 2019 at 12:07 am #3612675
“Water IS a chemical. So is oxygen.“
and so are digoxin and strychnine. We have the beneficial, the harmful and a lot in-between. Many chemicals have not been evaluated for their impact on human health. I don’t know what’s used in drydown. Do you?Oct 5, 2019 at 12:31 am #3612678
One brand of down treatment is that made by DownTek. They make the following statements:
PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) are both C8 long-chain carbons and persist in the environment indefinitely. PFOAs are considered toxicants and carcinogens, and PFOS is a volatile sulfonamide that has been found to compromise the immune systems of both humans and animals. PFOA and PFOS can be found in Teflon, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, fast food wrappers, surfactants, cleaning chemicals, floor waxes, and numerous other applications.
DownTek do not use either PFOA or PFOS.
DownTek™ Water Repellent Down uses a clean chemistry C6 short-chain carbon. It is non-hazardous and non-toxic. The EPA has researched C6 short-chain PFCs and found they generally have a half-life of less than 15 minutes, so they do not persist in the environment like the long-chain C8 PFCs. DownTek is PFOA and PFOS-free.
DownTek PFC-Free™ Water Repellent Down uses a bluesign approved chemistry that contains no PFC’s.
However, since the C6 compounds are so short-lived, they need to use more of them to get similar results, and even so many reports state that such DWR teatments do not last very long. I have also seen comments to the effect that while C6 compounds are not as bad as the C8 ones, they can still be harmful.
Many mfrs do not and will not use DWR treatments on their down products for the above reasons. Since a good down bag or quilt can last 20+ years, one can see why.
CheersOct 5, 2019 at 12:44 am #3612679
That’s very helpful, thank you!Oct 5, 2019 at 1:23 am #3612680Chris RBPL Member
So it sounds like we should be more worried about non stick cookware, take out pizza and pop corn., unless you are in the habit of sucking on your sleeping bag.Oct 5, 2019 at 1:44 am #3612682jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
UGQ’s statement: “The benefits, which are marginal at best in real world scenarios, are offset by lower loft, intra laundering clumping, and the need for more down to offset the lower lofting and possible clumping.”
I don’t actually know if this is correct, but I suspect that it is.
In other words, it may be that laundering degrades treated down more than normal down. And that chemical additives suppress the loft of treated dry down. this last sorta makes sense.
Several million years of evolution versus last second’s intro into the field of keeping warm and dry. Sometimes when you improve one quality of a thing you introduce a slew of unintended consequences.Oct 5, 2019 at 1:47 am #3612684
“So it sounds like we should be more worried about non stick cookware, take out pizza and pop corn., unless you are in the habit of sucking on your sleeping bag.”
I don’t know. I see a lot of cancer in my line of work.Oct 5, 2019 at 7:22 pm #3612739Federico CalboliBPL Member
I don’t know. I see a lot of cancer in my line of work.
Unless cardiovascular disease takes people out first, the next big killer is cancer (third being neurodegenerative diseases).
Unless you have a clear exposure pathway from treated down, I would be more concerned in the risks of hypothermia. The acrylamide in your [insert food you like here] is carcinogenic, but are you going to give up [insert food you like here] due to the small increased risk?Oct 5, 2019 at 11:39 pm #3612768
What can get completely overlooked in such a discussion is whether you really need ‘water resistant’ down – or is it another case of ‘packing your fears’?
I started walking when I was a Boy Scout; now I am 74 years old. I have never used any ‘water resistant’ down in that time, and I have never had a problem. Mind you, I pack my down gear in very waterproof bags in my pack, so even swimming is not a problem. I suggest that most walkers around the world will never need the stuff either.
Yes, I am aware that there can be some environments where there could be a problem (100% RH, 0 C for example), but there are plenty of techniques for handling those situations. Better to learn those techniques than to rely on something which CAN fail anyhow.
CheersOct 6, 2019 at 12:26 am #3612769
What also gets overlooked in such a discussion is the very simple fact that ‘water resistant’ down will not help you if you are in a problematic situation, such as 100% RH and 0 C.
Under these conditions you might be getting condensation inside the down anyhow. The ‘dew line’ will be inside the down layer. Your down will get wet, even if the water has condensed onto the down clusters rather than into the fibres. So you will still have a wet bag or quilt!
Technological marvels do not substitute for basic skills.
CheersOct 6, 2019 at 12:56 am #3612771Edward John MBPL Member
Yes Roger but they do help with a more rapid recovery after the event if an unfortunate event happens
I started using Nikwax on my down gear over 35 years ago when TX-10 came out and have used it continuously since. I have seen none of the side effects stated in this post and I only just had my second down bag rejuvenated after 30 years of continual use. It is hard to say if the degradation of the down from 900FP to 850FP over that time was due to the Nikwax of general wear and tear but I would have said age related and not the any chemicals used in treatment.
Mind you my parka is only 25 years old but still has the original loft.
I find treated down resistant to loss of loft though moisture accumulation and I seriously doubt that the Nikwax was a contributing factor in any of cancers, I’d be much more worried about furniture waxes containing Limonene and cosmetics containing hormone analoguesOct 7, 2019 at 3:28 pm #3612954
“Yes Roger but they do help with a more rapid recovery after the event if an unfortunate event happens”
Im not convinced of this. I’m under the impression that in real-life scenarios the difference is insignificant. I’m also not convinced that I should ignore the potential health harms of drydown simply because there are more pressing dangers (e.g., furniture wax and cosmetics). I’m glad you have peace of mind on this. I just don’t at this point.Oct 7, 2019 at 8:10 pm #3612982Edward John MBPL Member
The most common “Real Life ” scenario is moisture accumulation over time for which the best defence is a VB liner. If you do not wish to use a VB liner then the effectiveness of down treatment is obvious after a couple of weeks, more so if you are also using proper double bag technique with the outer bag taking most of the vapour accumulation. The differences probably only become apparent after a week or two of sleeping out below freezing with no chance of drying out because of weather conditions.
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