EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Tuning, Maintenance and Repairs › "Ski wax chemicals build up in people's blood, pose risks" - link to article
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"Ski wax chemicals build up in people's blood, pose risks" - link to article

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Here's an interesting article published in something called the "Environmental Health News" that I stumbled upon today:

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/ski-wax-chemicals

 

It sounds like the risks are still unclear and you're only at risk with pretty high exposure. Regardless, I thought there might be a few people on this forum interested in reading the article. I don't personally have any knowledge of the subject.

post #2 of 28

Without reading the article yet I'm going to guess they're going to say ski wax causes cancer, as does the laptop I'm typing on, the phone in my pocket, and the couch I'm sitting on.

post #3 of 28

Yep they threw out the cancer card.  BSmeter.gif

post #4 of 28

Some ski waxes are very toxic, it's not BS at all.

post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

Some ski waxes are very toxic, it's not BS at all.



I'm not saying there is not certain toxic qualities the waxes, I'm just talking about the blown out of proportion carcinogen card they play on everything known to man.

post #6 of 28

 

Quote:
“With the fluoro, we all know it’s a little bit on the nasty side.”

 

That line basically sums it up. Moral of story is that sniffing fluorinated wax fumes is probably a bad idea, which is a concept most wax techs are already familiar with but choose to ignore.

 

Then again, I know people who lay down wax with a cigarette in their mouth, so the idea of wax fumes as a health risk probably isn't their greatest concern.

post #7 of 28

Most fluorinated compounds are dangerous it seems. I just use hydrocarbon wax because I don't race and have no interest in having to be careful with wax.

post #8 of 28

I always believed they are, if not dangerous, at least not healthy, so I always used gas mask, even when they were not very common thing in WC wax rooms, and I was one of first ones to use them in WC. Just last week in Val Gardena I went by to see friend, and he was still in wax room, so I popped down there. Considering he prepares quite few skis every day, and day after day, I was pretty surprised to see him without mask. So we had a bit of discussion about this. He's working for one of big wax companies, and they send them to tests 5 or 6 times a year, and even after quite some time in WC, his tests doesn't show anything... yet.

I admit I'm not all that good with chemistry (even though it should be different considering my school background :)), and I don't really care much of it, so I just believe to this what people tell me when it comes to this. If this is true, fluor is dangerous when it gets heated over 300c. Normally, fluoro waxes are heated somewhere up to 170, 180c (some fluoro powders), which is still far far from previously mentioned 300c. So these things might not be life threatening, but for sure they are not healthy, so my gas mask stays with me... even though pair or two of skis a week nowadays won't do much harm :)

post #9 of 28

Flouros on, mask on. That's my rule.

post #10 of 28

Guess I better stop mixing in some ski wax with my morning coffee.

post #11 of 28
^Yep. Better make sure that's pure Gulf wax there.

http://www.realcajunrecipes.com/recipes/cajun/cake-balls/509.rcr
Quote:
Makes: 30 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 35 minutes
Ever had too much cake left over from your holiday or party celebration? This recipe gives leftover cake a completely different and unique flavor. This is also easy for children to make. Wonderful taste and great for the holidays. Fill your gift tins with this delight.

Ingredients
German Chocolate leftover cake or any type of leftover cake 2 bags 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chip
1 block gulf wax

Directions
OK everyone, we know that you have been dying to do this. Take your leftover cake and SMUSH it altogether with your hands. Make small balls about quarter size. The original recipe had this with German chocolate cake but any cake will do.

In a fondue pot or double boiler, melt the chocolate and gulf wax together. Take a fork and dip the cake balls in the melted chocolate. Place the balls on a piece of aluminum foil to cool. Enjoy with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post

 If this is true, fluor is dangerous when it gets heated over 300c. Normally, fluoro waxes are heated somewhere up to 170, 180c (some fluoro powders), which is still far far from previously mentioned 300c. So these things might not be life threatening, but for sure they are not healthy, so my gas mask stays with me... even though pair or two of skis a week nowadays won't do much harm :)



The best way to volitilize a fluor and really poison yourself is to smoke a cigarette in the wax room.  This sucks in some of the wax fumes with bound fairly inert fluors, heats them way past 300, and sends them right down pipe.  I've seen too many techs do just that, smoking a quick Galloise between skis.

post #13 of 28

 

The article only said that the levels were 45 times the normal population; I read it fast but didn't see that it said the levels were toxic.

 

The article says:

"...PFCs are nearly indestructible"

 

The majority (here I am excluding liquid/spray-on fluoros) of PFC's in wax have to break down to harm you.  The mention of smokers and PFC's brings in such a mechanism for that; a lit cig will burn and break down the PFC.

 

I'm not saying not to be careful - I have an entire page on safety:

http://www.racewax.com/category/tuning-tips/

 

FYI - PFC's are everywhere, they are in the ink in your cereal box and many women's cosmetic products.

 

BTW - the toast you had for breakfast would send my spectrometer that measures (very reactive) free radical compounds off scale.

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

The best way to volitilize a fluor and really poison yourself is to smoke a cigarette in the wax room.  This sucks in some of the wax fumes with bound fairly inert fluors, heats them way past 300, and sends them right down pipe.  I've seen too many techs do just that, smoking a quick Galloise between skis.

I have personally seen one of coaches walking in wax room with cigarette and next second we were dragging him out on fresh air to get back to his conscious. Now I don't know if this was really related to almost all day of waxing some fluoro powders and wax room with no decent air "exchange" or to something else, but it wasn't too great to see that.

On one side, I stick to my old belief and I keep my mask on, even nowadays when I spend on average few minutes/week in wax room, but on the other side, I believe this, what my friend told me. Afterall, he doesn't have reason to lie to me about this anyway. But I rather look stupid even if it's useless, then being sorry later on :)
 

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor D View Post

FYI - PFC's are everywhere, they are in the ink in your cereal box and many women's cosmetic products.

Heck, they're used as molding lubricant for just about everything - from stamping CDs, DVDs, to pressing hard-shell chocolate candies.

More interesting than the article itself were the PubMed links on metabolic conversion to other compounds. Of course, this is likely a long-term process rather than something that happens in a few minutes.
post #16 of 28

Why is this lady happy?  She just finished second in the sprints at the World Cup  finals.  Who is the first person she hugs?  Her wax tech.

 

You can't believe how much waxing guys like Primoz and his buddies do.  For this one skier, in this one race, he started with three waxes and three pairs of skis.  Waxed and tested those.  The through the qualifiers, the quarters, the semis, and the final race, he waxed and sent out for testing three pairs, then rewaxed the race pair.  He saw more fluoro in one day than most of us will in a season.

 

Of course, it takes years of that to get to a world class level.

 

eurski1 101.jpg

post #17 of 28
It would be interesting to see if the actual metabolic conversion wasn't by human-DNA cells but by cooperating bacterial species; we know those can adapt to environmental conditions and prevailing food on a scale of hours and days.

What if fluors were the new broccoli?
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by huhh View Post

Guess I better stop mixing in some ski wax with my morning coffee.



Next time im in the sherwood forest area with Maid Marion we should stop in and share a cup a contaminated timmies.... do they use waxed cups??

 

Robin

post #19 of 28

I'd rather not make things worse as Fluor etc just gets in the water & up the ecosystem... I was just looking into purl wax for this reason http://www.purlracing.com/

 

I recently met a guy who uses (food) canning wax on skis. Seems like a cheap & easy alternative if performance isn't a priority.

post #20 of 28


What about the dyes in the wax?  They are typically more carcinogenic.  That bio wax breaks down and releases the dyes; regular wax would not break down and would lock the dyes up.  There are pros/cons to everything. Purl wax is not 100% friendly to human/animal health and the ecosystem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reddirt View Post

I'd rather not make things worse as Fluor etc just gets in the water & up the ecosystem... I was just looking into purl wax for this reason http://www.purlracing.com/

 

I recently met a guy who uses (food) canning wax on skis. Seems like a cheap & easy alternative if performance isn't a priority.

post #21 of 28

I knew there was a good reason to never wax your skisbiggrin.gif

post #22 of 28

Primoz, what's the view of using fluoros continuosly on speed skis? I thought the view was you wanted to clean them out regularly because if they built up the ski was slow. Has that changed? Someone told me now they're using them all the time.

 

Nice photo of the wax tech and the competitor, who are they?

 

edit:

Just found this abstract from 1997;

You'll have to pay to read the whole thing, but the abstract says enough. Primoz, could have something to do with what you witnessed.

 

"Pulmonary Injury After Ski Wax Inhalation Exposure"

http://www.annemergmed.com/article/S0196-0644(98)70043-5/abstract

 

post #23 of 28

To be honest, I never heard of this fluoro paranoia until I started reading forums :) I (and everyone else I know and who was or still is working as tech in WC) was always using fluoro waxes as preparation and transport wax. When using fluoro powders I was never "cleaning" skis with non fluoro waxes, but its normal thing that skis get layer of transportation wax right after they are not used anymore. But as I wrote, even for this, I was always using HF waxes.

post #24 of 28

Ah interesting. And do you use the fluoros even for the very cold snow?

There has been the perception that fluoros are not necessary, or even slower when the snow is very cold. I guess that would be less than 10-15  deg F, or say less than -10 Celsius. How do you regard that?

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Ah interesting. And do you use the fluoros even for the very cold snow?

There has been the perception that fluoros are not necessary, or even slower when the snow is very cold. 



My experience, while much less than someone like Primoz, is that the right fluoros can be a bit faster on a cold foggy day, but on a cold clear day after a clear night, they can really suck.  I've seen many skiers spend a fortune making their skis slower than they would run on the cheaper wax.

post #26 of 28

Things are definitely different nowadays, then they were 10 years ago when I was still around, so I can't say this for today. All this depends on way too much testing of weird combinations,  and since I don't do this anymore, I don't have exact data anymore. But back in my days, there was no single race, where I wouldn't be using fluoros. At least as part of combo. Nowadays, Swix have Cera F powders which work extremely good with temperatures around -20c. I had beer or two with Swix tech in Val Gardena this year, just on evening before race, and he still had 2 pairs of skis to prepare for early morning, pre-race tests, so I went down to wax room first. All 4 pairs (2 already done, and 2 he did at that time) which were ready for next morning tests (for teams to get info about Swix waxes for race), were prepared with fluoro powders, so obviously things are still same. Especially considering temperature for all trainings and both races (SG and DH) this year in Val Gardena was somewhere between -17 and -25c, with extremely dry and cold snow.

But as I wrote, with such conditions, you need a whole lot of tests to get right wax. So for someone who doesn't have time (and money), and most important, a whole lot of experiences, most likely non-fluoro way would be better way to go. Especially, since in such conditions logical, one or two wax mix will most likely never work. My favorite combinations for such conditions were so weird, that noone even believed they would work, yet they worked better then anything else :)

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post
..

But as I wrote, with such conditions, you need a whole lot of tests to get right wax. So for someone who doesn't have time (and money), and most important, a whole lot of experiences, most likely non-fluoro way would be better way to go. Especially, since in such conditions logical, one or two wax mix will most likely never work. My favorite combinations for such conditions were so weird, that noone even believed they would work, yet they worked better then anything else :)

Well now that we've got that out of the way, I guess I'll go back to the simple stuff! smile.gif

Even recreationally, it's nice to have good wax though it need not cost a lot. At Stowe, the Kastle guy had spent a lot of time preparing his demos. Just going to the lift line was a different experience.  "Ah wax!...yeah, I remember that" We complemented him on the wax job but he didn't want to hear about his base bevels which were large. I traded skis with Bud and he couldn't stand it and after half a run he insisted on getting his skis back.



 


Edited by Tog - 1/10/11 at 7:04pm
post #28 of 28

The good news:  if you don't move to Cali, you'll live forever!!  It seems many things are only a risk there.  Like solvency.

 

As a good friend said to me once, "Live life to the fullest, and remember, no matter how hard you try and how careful you are, none of us get out of here alive."

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Tuning, Maintenance and Repairs
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Tuning, Maintenance and Repairs › "Ski wax chemicals build up in people's blood, pose risks" - link to article