The FIS Council, in accordance with the recommendation of its Fluorinated Wax Ban Working Group, has approved postponing the implementation of the ban of fluorinated waxes until the start of the 2021-22 season, beginning on July 1, 2021.
According to the proposal of working group, the upcoming season will be used for further laboratory and field testing, to finalise testing protocols, and allow for the production of additional devices for purchase by stakeholders and enable implementation of the ban at all levels of FIS competition.
In November 2019 the FIS Council decided that the use of fluorinated ski wax which has been scientifically proven to have negative environmental and health impacts, will be banned in competition for all FIS disciplines from the 2020-21 season. This follows EU regulations in effect from July 2020, that prohibit the use of certain fluorinated compounds in the manufacture of these products.
FIS strongly supports the ban on fluorinated waxes and appointed a Working Group who has worked tirelessly in the last months to develop a testing device and implement testing and sanctioning protocols across all disciplines in time for the start of the 2020-21 season.
In the last weeks, FIS was able to test a hand-held Fluorine Tracker system able to detect fluorine on skis and snowboards designed for use at the start and finish of a competition. The standard error in the measured fluorine values from the device sensors used during these tests is less than one percent (1%) and confirms the ability of the device to accurately measure fluorine in ski bases.
Despite the accuracy of the device measurement technology, testing also indicated that there were potential sources of measurement error related to other aspects of the testing system that require further testing and design adjustments to ensure absolutely fair and consistent results for all competitors.
For example, it was observed that operator error was significant enough to require design improvements of the device’s sensor head to ensure consistent alignment. The first 1,500 tests also indicated the need for an additional sensor to eliminate measurement error related to the various types of base materials, structures and base preparations. Also, since the tests were conducted in a laboratory indoors, further testing outdoors in ambient light, temperature and weather conditions is also necessary to ensure consistent operation of the device.
The extra time will further allow for the implementation of a testing procedure for all disciplines to be prepared, tested and controlled in a proper way. It also allows for a sufficient number of Fluorine Tracker Devices to be made available in Spring 2021 to provide the opportunity to test on all FIS levels.
Until that time, all stakeholders should follow the applicable laws and regulations regarding the use of fluorinated waxes and fluorine substitutes
Despite the delay in the implementation of the Fluorine Tracker, FIS remains 100% committed to the fastest feasible implementation of fluorine-free competition at all levels and disciplines and in a fair and consistent way for all competitors.