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SKI: Extra Speed Comes at a Health Cost

Ski Wax Chemicals Can Build Up in Blood

The North Columbia Environmental Society, based in the Columbia River Valley, has sent us the following letter and copied us on the letter they sent to ski centres (below) - if you want to take action, please email ski centres (see emails below) asking them to stop the use of high fluoro ski wax.

LETTER SENT BY S.E.N.S. to Sovereign Lake Nordic Ski Club and 2020 Nationals Race Committee.

We at SENS want to express our support for the letter sent you by Sarah Newton and Rory Luxmoore on October 16, 2019, asking to not use high fluoro ski wax at the 2020 National Championships.

We too believe in the Precautionary Principle and, given the ample information and warnings about the harm caused by Persistent Organic Pollutants, we feel that this request is amply justified. The Norwegian Ski Association Cross Country and Swix have stated they are aiming towards a Fluor free future. We hope you will heed the call and do the right thing.

Thank you for your attention,

Sigrid Ann Thors.
SENS Chair.


The North Columbia Environmental Society, based in the Columbia River Valley, shares your concern about the environment. We would like to bring to your
attention a chemical that is being used in the North Okanagan.

At high level downhill and cross-country ski races, wax technicians often apply perfluorochemicals (PFCs), that make the ski go significantly faster
than traditional ski waxes.  The wax is very expensive (upwards from $100/gram) and dangerous. PFC’s in the high fluoro wax bio-accumulate in
living organisms and carry potentially serious health risks, including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, hormone disruption and cancer. Wax technicians use ventilators while waxing to minimize their risk of exposure, but the skis and their workspace come into repeated contact with PFC’s and from there into the surrounding land, and once it is into the ecosystem PFC’s never breakdown, causing a myriad of problems:

“Long chain PFCAs in ski waxes, contain elements that are precursors to PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid). PFOA is presumed to be an immune hazard, & is linked to conditions such as high cholesterol, thyroid disease, reproductive disorders & cancer. Long chain PFCAs, including PFOA do not degrade in the environment, are transported over long distances & biomagnify in animals, which threatens the food chain, according to the UN's Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The committee determined that a ‘safe’ concentration of PFOA in the environment ‘cannot be established’ and recommended that signatories to the Stockholm Convention, consider banning production and use of PFOA – as well as its salts and related compounds.” (14th meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, UN. Sept. 2018. UN panel urges global action on fluorinated chemicals | News | Chemistry World)

The North Columbia Environmental Society asks that Climate Vernon join our voice in the call for a complete ban on the use of high fluoro ski waxes in your area. We believe in the precautionary principle, and ask that products containing PFC’s no longer be used at any level because of the following concerns: 1) Health Hazards; 2) Environmental Persistence; 3) Socio-economic Considerations; 4) Insufficient Evidence to Prove Absence of Harm.

Ski areas in your area that hold high level ski races where this wax could be used are Sovereign Lake Nordic Ski Club, Silver Star Alpine Ski Resort, Larch Hills Nordic Ski Club, and Big White.

Warmest Regards,

Sarah Newton
NCES Board Member
sarahnewton33 -at-


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