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Take-back program aims to remove PFAS ski wax from the slopes

Blocks of colorful ski wax in a red bucket
Madelyn Beck
Mountain West News Bureau
This kind of ski wax (found in Bogus Basin's rental shop) doesn't have PFAS, but some of the higher-end racing waxes still do.

News Brief

PFAS chemicals are used in some ski waxes, which can then leach into the environment and groundwater, and even make it into our bodies, possibly causing health issues.

Now, a partnership between the Colorado company MountainFlow Eco-Wax and students in a collegiate challenge has resulted in a take-back program for those potentially dangerous waxes containing "forever chemicals."

Peter Arlein is that company’s founder and CEO.

“This isn’t going to solve all of the world’s problems, but it’s a big step in the right direction, and we’re super grateful for everyone who’s participating in it,” he said. “And we hope that this is just the beginning of a much longer and evergreen program to ensure that fluorinated waxes do not end up in the local environment.”

"Fluorinated" means the ski wax contains PFAS. Such waxes have long been sold as higher-end or more effective, though some non-fluorinated waxes now claim to perform just as well. While racing organizations and many companies are moving away from fluorinated products, many people still have them on hand.

The ski wax take-back program runs for the month of May. People can either drop their waxes off in person at a few Colorado retailers or mail them to an office in Carbondale, Colo. You can find more specifics about where to send it here.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Madelyn Beck was Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau.

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