Fluorinated ski wax banned in Park City Utah

PARK CITY, Utah — On February 16, the City Council passed the Drinking Water Source Protection Ordinance prohibiting the use and sale of all fluorinated ski wax in Park City. The ban comes after traces of Polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ or PFAS, have been detected in Park City’s aquifer and groundwater wells. Fluoro ski wax has been identified as the probable contamination source.

According to a 2011 article in Scientific America, “Scientific research suggests that ski wax can expose users to perfluorochemicals (PFCs) that build up in their bodies and may carry potentially serious health risks, including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, hormone disruption and cancer.”

PFASs in ski wax are heat resistant, chemically and biologically stable, and thus environmentally persistent meaning they do not naturally degrade over time.

“We are lucky to have high quality, reliable drinking water in Park City,” said Park City Mayor Nann Worel. “I ask everyone to help protect our drinking water by skiing fluoro free and changing out their wax.”

Ski Wax Takeback Program

Residents are encouraged to participate in the Ski Wax Takeback Program. Wax can be dropped off at Recycle Utah 24/7 through April 15, 2023 free of charge. Recycle Utah is located at 1951 Woodbine Way in Park City. More information on the program is available here.

Carolyn Wawra, Executive Director of Recycle Utah, said, “The City approached us. They were looking for a way to collect ski waxes and get them out of our waste streams and our water here. They need a place to collect it and dispose of it properly. Well, we’re kind of experts at Recycle Utah in collecting things and disposing of them properly, so we were happy to hop in to help them.”

Park City isn’t alone. Winter outdoor enthusiasts all around the world are dealing with similar issues. Regionally, Recycle Utah has joined in discussions with ski towns in Colorado with a shared goal to stop continued environmental impacts. Fluorocarbon ski wax is “likely” responsible for low-level PFAS contamination.

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