50 Deadliest Animals In The Us Ranked By State 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 snowboard oils are both human health and environmental hazards. The most dangerous ingredients found in toxic waxes are perfluorocarbons (PFCs). Perfluorocarbons are fully fluorinated compounds, synthesized by combining a hydrocarbon (such as paraffin wax) with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The acid removes the hydrogen atoms from the carbon backbone and replaces them with fluorine atoms. The term “fluorocarbon” refers to any carbon-based molecule which is fully or partially fluorinated. Therefore, the terms “PFC” and “fluorocarbon” are often used interchangeably.

Fluorinated ski waxes (fluoros) are, by far, the most durable and hydrophobic. The more hydrophobic a wax is, the better water repellency it has. It is well known that, in skiing, fluoros achieve the best times for racers. But what is not well known is that fluoros also have a higher health and environmental impact.

When fluorocarbons are exposed to high temperatures, toxic fumes are released. In ski and snowboard shops, technicians breathe these fumes. Long-term exposure to the fumes of fluorocarbons is known to cause severe damage to the airways, blood vessels, and increased PFC levels in the blood. Some studies of such engineers have shown PFC blood content levels up to 45% higher than the general population. PFC and PFOA are also known to be strong greenhouse gases.

The toxic effect of fluorinated oils is further publicized when the wax is dropped from the base of skis and snowboards into the snowpack. In the spring, the toxins left by fluorinated oils are transported to water bodies as non-biodegradable, environmentally hazardous materials. PFC and PFOA are present in the environment as persistent organic pollutants, and are not known to be degraded by any natural processes. The results of animal studies of PFOA show that it can cause many types of tumors, neonatal death, and can have toxic effects on the immune, liver, and endocrine systems.

How many skiers does it take? Well, if a skier calculates the amount of fuel he actually uses and leaves on the mountain at one time, it may not be much. However, it is the combined effect that is the problem. According to the National Ski Areas Association, the 2007-2008 ski season had 60.1 million skier days at U.S. resorts. They estimate that between 1979 and 2009, the US has had at least 50 million skier days each year. That results in more than 1.5 billion pairs of skis and snowboards leaking oil into the snowpack over 30 years in the United States alone.

As the dangers of toxic waxes become more known, skilled skiers and snowboarders are becoming more and more eager to find non-toxic wax sources. Glide-on is one such option. Instead of toxic chemicals, Glide-on has an inert (environmentally friendly) polymer added that increases its strength, speed and base protection. So you don’t have to sacrifice performance for non-toxic. At Glide-on, we are proud to offer an excellent alternative to toxic ski oils and we believe this will be the way of the future.

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