Read the full article by Kaitlyn Budoin (Morning Sentinel)
“When Gail Carlson’s son joined the Central Maine Ski Club to compete in Nordic skiing, one of the first things she told him was to stay out of the club’s wax shed.
An assistant professor of environmental studies and director of the Buck Lab for Climate & Environment at Colby College in Waterville, Carlson knew many competitive ski teams used fluorinated waxes, which contained PFAs, also known as ‘forever chemicals,’ and have caused a variety of environmental and health problems.
So while Carlson’s son accepted he had to wax his skis at home, Carlson began investigating what fluorinated waxes, known as fluoro waxes, were doing locally.
‘The fluoro waxes are very high performance. They’re desirable,’ Carlson said. ‘So it was clear that there likely was exposure happening in our community, and I really wanted to look more into it.’
In 2020, Carlson tested the snow after Nordic ski races held as part of the Colby Carnival at Quarry Road Trails in Waterville. She found elevated levels of PFAS in the snow and soil. She determined PFAS in ski wax was being left behind in the snow and accumulating in the soil.
In recent years, many racing organizations have banned the use of fluoro waxes, and when Carlson returned to the Colby Carnival this year, she found significantly less PFAS in the snow.
Carlson’s findings are a reflection of the broader ski industry, which has moved away from products containing PFAS. Skiing appears to be among the few sports and industries to have taken steps to restrict the use of PFAS at a time when PFAS contamination looks to be worsening in Maine.”…