A Collective Term For Animals In The Environment Is Called Why It Is Important to Use a Non-Toxic Ski and Snowboard Wax

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Why It Is Important to Use a Non-Toxic Ski and Snowboard Wax

Toxic ski and snow waxes pose a risk to human health and the environment. The most dangerous ingredient found in toxic waxes are perfluorocarbons (PFCs). Perfluorocarbons are fully fluorinated compounds, produced synthetically by combining a hydrocarbon (such as paraffin wax) with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The acid removes hydrogen atoms from the carbon backbone and replaces them with fluorine atoms. The term “fluorocarbon” refers to any carbon-based molecule that has been fully or partially fluorinated. Therefore, the terms “PFC” and “fluorocarbon” are often used interchangeably.

Fluorinated ski waxes (fluoros) are, by far, more stable and hydrophobic. The more hydrophobic the wax, the stronger it is against water. It is well known that, in skiing, fluoros achieve the best times for runners. But what is less known is that fluoros also have the highest health and environmental impact.

When fluorocarbons are exposed to high temperatures, toxic fumes are released. In ski and snowboard shops, technicians inhale these fumes. Prolonged exposure to fluorocarbon fumes is known to cause severe damage to the respiratory tract, bloody noses and increased levels of PFCs in the blood. Some studies of such technicians have found levels of PFC content in the blood up to 45% higher than the general population. PFCs and PFOA are also known as potent greenhouse gases.

The toxic impact of fluorinated waxes is further spread when the wax is thrown from the base of skis and snowboards into the snowpack. In the spring, the toxins left by the fluorinated waxes are sent to water bodies as non-biodegradable and environmentally dangerous molecules. PFCs and PFOA remain in the environment as persistent organic pollutants and are not known to degrade by any natural process. The results of animal studies of PFOA show that it can cause some types of tumors, neonatal death, and can have toxic effects on the immune, liver, and endocrine systems.

How many skiers are needed? Well, if a skier calculates how much wax he actually uses and leaves behind on the mountain over the course of a season, it might not be much. However, the problem is the collective impact. According to the National Ski Areas Association, the 2007-2008 ski season saw 60.1 million skier days at US resorts. They estimate that between 1979 and 2009, the US had at least 50 million skier days each year. This results in more than 1.5 billion pairs of skis and snowboards shedding wax into the snowpack over 30 years in the United States alone.

As the dangers of toxic waxes become more widely known, conscious skiers and snowboarders are increasingly motivated to seek out non-toxic wax sources. Glide-on is one such alternative. Instead of toxic chemicals, Glide-on has added an inert (environmentally neutral) polymer that increases durability, speed and base protection. So you don’t have to sacrifice performance for non-toxicity. At Glide-on, we are proud to offer a great alternative to toxic ski waxes and believe this will be the way of the future.

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