Originally Posted by primoz
...Really good friend of mine was for last 15 years chief tech for men WC for one of top wax companies. He told me, they were regularly tested them and nothing ever showed even though he was never using gas masks. ....But in my mind, and personally I was using gas mask all these years when I was in WC, using mask doesn't cost anything. Maybe it doesn't do anything, but maybe it does. So why to risk :)
Three hour layover in the Munich airport, a good time to catch up! :-)
You are a clever man to protect yourself, Primoz. There is enough risk in our lives and we enjoy it (fast skis, fast cars, motorcycles, etc) but a health risk is a stupid one, we have to manage risk whenever it's potentially damaging. I may know who you are talking about, is he a countryman of yours whose name starts with an M? Or is he from the xc side? Anyway, it is a stretch to say that medical test shows no problem, so it is safe to go without protection. I wish all the unprotected waxers the best of luck, but blood panel and lung function testing will not reveal all potential problems. So I truly hope that your friend enjoys the best of health for the rest of his life, but this statement is like saying "I have been smoking five packs a day for 20 years and don't have lung cancer, so no smoker will develop lung cancer". Here is another one from our recent files:
A group of Swedish scientists headed by H. Nilsson has published two comprehensive articles: Inhalation Exposure to Fluorotelomer Alcohols Yield Perfluorocarboxylates in Human Blood? Environ. Sci. Technol., 2010, 44 (19), pp 7717–7722, followed up in 2011 by Human Exposure to Fluorinated Ski Wax. The contents of these articles can be difficult for non-chemists to fully comprehend, but here is a very simplified summary:
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (abbreviated PFOA) is a synthetic chemical found in the blood of the general population. There are theories as to how it got there and it is suspected to be hazardous to human health, but there is no concrete evidence at this time.
- A number of professional cross-country wax technicians examined showed much higher PFOA content in their blood, around 20 times higher on the average than the general population. This was very surprising because PFOA is not contained in ski waxes in appreciable levels.
- A group of wax technicians working for the Swedish and US national cross country teams were monitored during the 2007-2008 World Cup season. Their average workload involved 30 hours of waxing per week.
- The waxroom air quality was monitored. The levels of PFOA were very low, but high levels of 2-pefluorooctylethanol (abbreviated FTOH) were found. FTOH, a suspected health hazard, is a high boiling liquid that is expected to volatilize during ironing.
- There was no report on the origin of FTOH, it could be an impurity in the fluoro wax, or formed from other wax ingredients during the ironing process.
- The levels of PFOA in the technicians’ blood kept increasing even after the season was over, a time when there was no exposure to wax. This led the researchers to conclude that after being inhaled, the FTOH was slowly changing into PFOA in the technicians’ body through a process called biotransformation.
The levels of PFOA reached a maximum shortly after the season was over then started to decrease, but there was no report about the levels before the start of the following season so long term effects are not known.
The consensus seems to be that A POTENTIAL HEALTH HAZARD IS PRESENT WHILE IRONING SOME FLUORO SKI WAXES AND A RESPIRATOR MUST BE WORN TO REDUCE VAPOR INHALATION IF THERE IS FREQUENT EXPOSURE.
For do-it-yourselfers, H. Nilsson, the primary author of the latest articles, advises: “Make sure that the room is ventilated. A [respirator] with a proper filter is also recommended.” She added, “There is no need to worry too much if one only intends to wax the occasional one or two pair.” Concerns are greatest for professionals like those in the studies, waxing as many as 20 pairs of skis a day.
DOMINATOR's remains that precautions must be taken regardless of the brand used, the chemical industry has a long and guilty history of introducing compounds as safe, only to recall them years later after they have been proven dangerous and damaging to health. Unintentially, for sure, but damaging nonetheless.