U.S., Canadian NGB/NSOs Form North American Fluorocarbon Free Policy Working Group
PARK CITY, Utah – National Governing Bodies and National Sport Organizations (NGB/NSOs), and snow sport organizations from the United States and Canada today are announcing the formation of a Fluorocarbon Free Policy Working Group.
With representation from U.S. Ski & Snowboard, USA Nordic, U.S. Biathlon, U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing, U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing, U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding, Alpine Canada, Canada Snowboard, Freestyle Canada, Nordiq Canada, Biathlon Canada, Nordic Combined Canada, Ski Jumping Canada and industry wax representatives, the working group is tasked with setting policy to eliminate the use of fluorinated ski wax from all sanctioned levels of snow sports competition in North America beginning with the 2020-21 season.
In 2019, the International Ski Federation (FIS) and International Biathlon Union (IBU) decided that the use of fluorinated ski wax will be banned for all FIS and IBU disciplines beginning with the upcoming 2020-21 season. In addition, U.S. Ski & Snowboard voted to eliminate the use of fluorinated ski wax from all levels of competition at its May 2020 meeting. The Canadian Ski Association (CSA) has adopted the FIS Council Ruling and is extending it to all programs that fall under its authority.
Fluorinated wax, and the raw perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) compounds that make up these wax products, have been scientifically studied for their negative environmental and health impacts. In the United States, many of the compounds found in fluorinated wax products contain ingredients listed in the Toxic Substances Control Act. In July 2020 the European Chemicals Agency will ban the sale, manufacture, and import of all products containing PFOAs.
The Fluorocarbon Free Policy Working Group began meeting on a regular basis to facilitate the many facets of developing policy and rules that will harmonize all levels of domestic competition and training with FIS and IBU rules and regulations, and will lead to a complete ban of fluorinated wax products at all levels of sanctioned competition. The Working Group is committed to:
- Asking manufacturers to work toward providing a list of waxes where the manufacturer represents that the wax is free of fluorinated products
- Working with FIS and the IBU to coordinate the testing process and thresholds below the World Championships/World Cup level
- Establishing rules, deterrents, and appeals processes
- Establishing clear and concise stakeholder communications
While key questions remain, including testing, enforcement, and ultimately sanctions for using fluorinated products, all participating NGBs in the United States and NSOs in Canada are fully committed to banning the use of fluorinated wax from all levels of sanctioned snow sports competition starting with the 2020-21 ski and snowboard season.