Fluoride wax, an “eternal” poison in Nordic skiing

There are over 8000 perfluorinated compounds manufactured today...
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Fluoride wax, an “eternal” poison in Nordic skiing

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Fluoride wax, an “eternal” poison in Nordic skiing

Archyde.com - January 8, 2022

In an investigation, “Team Explore” reveals this Wednesday the dangers to health of perfluorinated substances used without protection for years by technicians of cross-country ski equipment.

In the world of ski racing, wax, which consists in particular of making the tips more slippery, is an essential process in performance. We wax our skis as we put them on. And even more in biathlon and cross-country skiing, where you cover several kilometers during the races. L’Equipe Explore, the documentary version of the sports journal, reveals in a survey this Wednesday the extreme danger to health of a product used for waxing, by professionals but also by amateurs: perfluorinated, often referred to under the acronym PFAS, a “chemical compound [et] poison said to be eternal since neither the body nor the environment know how to get rid of it ”.

In his long investigation, the team looks back on the origins of these fluoride waxes and describes a world where technicians become real chemists. Where, for years, the basements of ski resort hotels during competitions, such as amateur garages, fog up with wax vapors, without any protection being either mandatory or even suggested.

Fluorine wax appeared, via the Swix brand, in the white circus in the mid-1980s, and became a miracle product in the hands of the Italian Paolo Manfredini during the Oberstdorf World Championship in 1987, where the Italians achieve unexpected success. Manfredini died of lung cancer in 2001. His disciple Gianluca Marcolini, interviewed by the team, does not know if a link exists between waxing and Manfredi cancer, but mentions the lack of precautions at the beginning of the use of this product: “At the time, no one thought it could be dangerous. Everyone waxed without protection, without a mask. It lasted like that for at least ten years. “ Stefano Vuerich, another Italian technician, describes the working conditions of the time: “In the cellar of our hotel, it was smoking, we thought we were in hell. You couldn’t see anything inside the room! ”

“We’re going to die of this”

Daniel Drezet, former founder and trainer of the French cross-country ski team, suffered a stroke after a long waxing session in 1990. He recalls: “A few months before my accident, I said to a colleague: ‘We’re going to die of this’.” The team asks this question: “How many are the sick who keep silent?”

In 2020, the International Ski Federation took the decision to ban fluoride wax, in order to follow a European Union recommendation on PFAS, a measure postponed due to the pandemic of the lack of full development of tools for Control. For many years now, the French Ski Federation for its part has invited clubs to avoid its use and equipped its technicians with a gas mask.

Last year, in a survey, Libé revealed that although perfluorinated substances, substances present among others in foams, coatings or cosmetics, were reported as dangerous in 2009, no action is being taken in France to limit the contamination of the population as well as of major French rivers.

SOURCE: https://www.archyde.com/fluoride-wax-an ... release-2/
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