Skiers leave ‘permanent chemicals’ on the slopes, research reveals | PFAS

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A study has found that skiers are leaving “permanent chemicals” in the snow on the slopes.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of approximately 10,000 man-made chemicals widely used in industrial processes, firefighting foams, and consumer products that persist in the environment and are commonly referred to as It is known as the “eternal chemical”. It won’t break easily.

Some PFAS are thought to be linked to cancer, thyroid disease, immune system and fertility problems, and even impaired fetal development.

A study by the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen and the University of Graz in Austria finds 14 PFAS chemicals commonly used in ski wax found at much higher concentrations in soil at a family ski resort in the Austrian Alps. It turned out that it was. than areas not normally used for skiing.

Lead researcher Victoria Müller said: “These chemicals are called permanent chemicals because they take hundreds of years to break down. This is why they accumulate or accumulate in the wider environment, including groundwater systems. It can spread, which is the main concern.

“There have been concerns about the use of PFAS in ski wax for some time, but this study of alpine ski areas shows that at ski areas where this type of wax area is used, skis contain orders of magnitude higher concentrations of PFAS. It was shown that it is generated.

“However, this chemical is now so widespread in the environment that it is still being detected in small amounts, even in places where there are no ski resorts.”

Skiers use wax to make it easier to glide under their skis, allowing them to glide down faster. The study, published Thursday, found that the chemicals in wax linger long after skiers hit the slopes.

Ski wax containing PFAS chemicals was recently banned from some top resorts and professional races due to its potential toxicity.

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The chemical was first used in the 1940s and is highly prevalent in the environment, having been detected in drinking water across the UK and in the seas of the Netherlands. Scientists and conservationists around the world are calling for a complete ban on the use of PFAS, citing concerns about the long time it takes for PFAS to break down in the environment and their toxicity.

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