Read the full article by Grace van Deelen (Environmental Health News)
“For the better part of 20 years, Peter Arlein worked as a professional ski technician, waxing skis across Colorado.
Working occasionally in smaller shops with poor ventilation, he breathed in fumes released by the waxes. ‘The backroom is pretty cramped,’ Arlein told EHN. ‘In the winter, you don’t want to have the door open because it’s freezing. The ventilation is not great.’
When he learned what ski wax was made of, though, he re-thought his career path. ‘It was kind of an ‘aha’ moment,’ he said.
Most ski wax is a petroleum product filled with chemicals that can be harmful to human health. Some high-end wax can contain PFAS–a type of petroleum derivative added to make skis glide faster. PFAS, which stands for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are toxic chemicals linked to health problems such as certain types of cancer, reproductive issues, and birth defects.
‘There was definitely a concern about personal health, for myself and my co-workers,’ said Arlein. In response, he began a new venture to create a plant-based, non-toxic ski wax, called mountainFLOW.
Before starting his company, Arlein was one of the many workers across the country exposed to PFAS through their jobs. While PFAS exposure has been a concern in industries like firefighting and chemical manufacturing, there is mounting evidence that workers in other industries–including the auto industry, construction industry, and cleaning industry–are also exposed to the chemicals, sometimes without their knowledge. And workplace regulations may be inadequate for protecting workers.
‘We need to know how much of our worker population is exposed to these,” Leena Nylander-French, the director of the NC Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center at the University of North Carolina, told EHN. “Can these exposures be prevented?”’…