The fluorine ban announced in 2019 will not be introduced in the 2021/2022 season either. Both the international ski association FIS and the international biathlon union IBU have decided not to allow the fluorine ban in the ski wax sector to come into force in winter 2021/22 either. However, a ban on C8 fluorine compounds is being introduced in order to comply with EU regulations, which have been banning the sale and production of such C8 fluorine compounds since July 2020.
The problem - how should the presence of fluorine wax on skis be recognized?
A so-called fluorine tracker has been tested since 2019. With the introduction of this fluorine tracker, the use and presence of fluorine wax on skis should be recognized immediately. The corona pandemic had very limited or prevented the extensive test options required for this in winter 2020. Basically, it should be noted that it will be difficult anyway to implement this announced fluorine ban in all competitive sports worldwide, even with a functioning measuring device on the market.
It should be noted that the approach taken by the two international ski associations to introduce a fluorine ban for 2020 can be described as more unfortunate. The somewhat hasty announcement of such a ban posed a major challenge for the wax companies, which were already badly shaken by the bad winters. Without having a reliable test option, the ban was announced by the FIS for 2020 and then had to be withdrawn. Perhaps a good approach was not well thought out?
It is praiseworthy that the FIS and IBU are sticking to their commitment to develop a reliable test method that reliably guarantees the implementation of their competitions in accordance with the EU rules and the new competition regulations that may come from 2023. As a first step, the FIS and IBU are now banning all waxes with C8 fluorine compounds from the coming winter 2021/22. The basis for this is the EU regulation 2019/1021 ("POP regulation") and the EC regulation 1907/2006 ("REACH" regulation). Accordingly, the possession, application, use, sale, supply or trade in products containing C8 fluorocarbons / PFOA is prohibited. (Editor's note: "That would have been possible from 2020.")
All wax companies have already adjusted to the EU regulations that will apply from July 2020 in 2019. In the winter of 2020, START in Finland developed absolutely competitive fluorine-free waxes and launched them on the market. Managing director Harry Aaltonen confirms the statements of the technicians that in cold areas these waxes are sometimes significantly faster than the old fluorine waxes. Other wax companies are already developing fluorine-free waxes.
So if you want to be on the safe side, you should rely on the new products from the wax companies. These correspond to the currently valid EU regulations. Remaining stocks in the wax case may be used up according to the EU.
Sources: biathlonworld.com; fis-ski.com;