Industries claim that it is impossible to make their products without relying on PFAS.
There is one sector ready to eliminate it.
Six of the largest ski wax manufacturers have already made commitments to ban the use of PFAS in high-end ski wax. When heated and melted onto the bottom of skis, ski waxes are critical components of Alpine and Nordic skiing to reduce friction with the snow. Competitive and recreational skiers rely on ski waxes, and many are exposed to these chemicals during the waxing and day-to-day use.
Who Is Banning Fluorinated Ski Waxes?
Skiing’s governing bodies, including the International Ski Federation, US Ski and Snowboard, and the Canadian Ski Association, voted to ban fluorinated waxes for the 2021–2022 season. Their rules are not uniform, with different competitions sanctioned by other federations in the United States and overseas slow to expand these regulations.
In 2020, one of the industry’s most famous and lucrative brands, SWIX, was fined $375,000 for violating the Toxic Substances Control Act. That ruling effectively served as a warning to all ski wax manufacturers that could be breaking the EPA’s existing regulations on PFAS.
PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they take decades to deteriorate at the molecular level. They’re used in everything from Teflon plans to firefighting foams to food packaging.
Ski waxes aren’t the only product at your local ski resort that PFAS is commonly used in, either. Companies also use PFAS to waterproof outdoor clothing like parkas, snow pants, and other apparel. Some brands have moved to eliminate the product, though many retailers have been slow to make substantial changes.
Every industry needs to make PFAS a priority. Brands like SWIX have invested millions in finding alternatives to keep their customers and the environment safe. It’s a move that aligns with the very heart of skiing, which is about enjoying nature and celebrating health.
Learn more about PFAS and other cancer prevention issues at LessCancer.org.
Wax Off: Ski Industry Works to Ban PFAS was originally published in Less Cancer Journal on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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