The idea of any health effects from wax fumes has me intrigued. I did a bit of searching on the net and came across a few articles on this topic. In particular here's one specific to ski wax fumes that is interesting:
Health and safety considerations
These final comments and recommendations have been taken from articles published in NORDIC UPDATE and are supported by information from ski wax manufacturers As with any new product that we use today, no one can ignore the possible long term effects these products may have on our health .Particular interest to all racers is the evidence that definitely supports the short term effects of exposure to wax fumes - both paraffins and fluoro carbons.
The loss of up to 30% Vo2 maximum oxygen capacity would be a disaster for any racer wishing to perform at their personal best XC skiers and biathletes have all verified that other nations do not permit their competitors to enter the waxing cabins without wearing repiratory face masks.
As Australian teams with very limited support personnel aim to match present International XC skiing standards, our skiers are suffering from lack of support staff which exposes them to the physiological dangers of having to wax their own skis, thus affecting their overall performance during races.
If our elite 'A' team skiers feel a strong need for improved support in this area, all club and recreational racers should take heed of the following information.
>From the SVENSK SKI SPORT Magazine:
"Research was performed a the Junior Swedish Championships last winter, and was carried out on a selection of coaches, who cooperated in advanced lung function testing The results showed that the oxygen exchange which occurs between the lungs and the blood was reduced by up to 30% Because waxing is often done in poorly ventilated areas, it can lead to poor results.
The report shows that the same effects occur with both the powders and normal paraffins For this reason, not only the 'pros', who spend hours in the wax room, are affected, as well as people who merely come in contact with waxing.
When wax is melted a vapour is created which rapidly condenses into small particles in the air These are so small that they penetrate deep into the lungs, into the area where the oxygen exchange takes place between the lungs and the blood It appears that 4-5 days relief from waxing would allow complete recovery."
NORWEGIAN NATIONAL TEAM WAXER - P.O. Olsson
"Olsson points out that it is obvious that competitors who need to perform at peak conditions should not stand and wax their skis in poorly ventilated ski rooms the night before a race."
DER LAUFER (Swiss Magazine)
Bruno Knopli remarked that "The effect on the oxygen uptake cpacity can last 30 minutes to 24 hours and begins within half to three quarters of an hour after entry into the wax room, especially when a synthetic 'wax' such as Cera F is used at a very high temperature, which release gases - we now see that ordinary petroleum based waxes produce similar results."
TAIT WARDLAW - US Ski Racing Magazine
Wax today contains more hazardous stuff than ever before The most conventional wax, called hydrocarbon or paraffin wax, is distilled from petroleum and when burned, releases carcinogenic sulphur dioxide into the air Keep the melting temperature of your iron as low as possible to avoid smoking If smoke billows from the iron or the ski, stop and turn the heat down." (Suggested that you install a START Air Defense to your wax iron or install an exhaust fan above your ski wax area ).
On the positive side, it has been reported:
"That wax vapours cool when exposed to air at normal room temperature As the vapours cool, re-condensation occurs and particulate matter is formed If the environmental air is cool enough, it is possible that the majority of the vapour will condense prior to inhalation The use of a simple dust mask should be protective against the inhalation of this particulate Thus, reasonable precautions for short periods of waxing include the use of a dust mask with necessary filters, and waxing in cool and well ventilated area.
Observing the following precautions should reduce the risks to a minimal level:
Lower ironing temperature;
Clean the iron directly after use;
Ventilate as well as possible in a cool area;
Use a face mask/respirator or point ventilation where possible;
Install START Air Defense to your existing waxing iron."
As Hans Malker says,
"A racer who waxes his skis in a poorly ventilated area before a start might just as well be smoking cigarettes before a race."