Speed kills

Speed kills

In case you haven’t heard, ski wax has been added to the list of things that can kill you. Ski racers have long prized waxes with high levels of fluorinated compounds because they make skis go faster. But that speed comes at a cost. In addition to harming the environment when all that wax sloughs off and ends up in the watershed, those perfluorochemicals also have been implicated in health risks, from heart disease and liver damage to hormone disruption and cancer.

The good news is the Environmental Protection Agency has begun phasing out the manmade chemicals, more commonly known as PFAS. The bad news: Swix, the largest manufacturer of ski wax, didn’t get the memo. After getting busted trying to import wax containing the banned substances, Swix reached a settlement earlier this month with the EPA. Under the agreement, Swix will pay a $375,000 fine and develop a $1 million educational program to raise awareness about PFAS in ski waxes.

Known as the “Responsible Waxing Project,” the goal is to educate the ski community about PFAS in waxes and their impact on the environment and promote the use of wax alternatives. It also will work with ski shops to train techies on the proper disposal of wax shavings and the use of personal protective equipment (not just for COVID anymore!) And speaking of the age of COVID, training will also be available online.

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