In recent years, a certain type of toxic chemical has been making headlines and some initiatives have been put into place in order to protect the public. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS or forever chemicals, are being studied with regard to the negative effects they have on humans and what to do to remedy the problem.

A fairly new environment where PFAS have been found in alarming amounts is ski resorts, including those in Colorado.

How Do Forever Chemicals Get on Colorado Ski Mountains?

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The dangerous forever chemicals are found in numerous forms including on rugs, furniture, non-stick cookware, cosmetics, and food packaging, to name a few. However, the chemicals are getting on the state's ski mountains via ski wax.

While newer, biodegradable, and non-toxic ski wax products have been making waves in recent years, professional ski racers prefer the older, more expensive waxes that contain the forever chemicals.

What Happens if Colorado Water Supplies are Contaminated with PFAS?

The chemicals are said to rub off of skis on ski mountains during the winter and when the snow melts, are included in the runoff that makes up some towns' water supplies.

Research has shown that forever chemicals ingested via drinking water have been known to cause infertility, immunity issues, and even aid cancer. Furthermore, when the wax is melted onto a pair of skis, the inhalation of these chemicals can cause cardiovascular problems, liver problems, hormonal problems, and, again, cancer.

What is Being Done to Protect Coloradans from Forever Chemicals on Ski Mountains?

Fortunately, some action is taking place to protect the public from these dangerous chemicals. For example, the EPA banned the production and importation of wax containing the chemicals for entities that have never produced it, though some companies are grandfathered in.

In addition, Colorado's Arapahoe Basin ski resort transitioned over to biodegradable ski wax over the past few years and put forth an exchange program for those who have the dangerous wax already in their possession.

Summit County ski resorts have also committed to some PFAS testing, as has the International Ski and Snowboard Federation. It should also be noted that this particular organization has also put forth a ban on forever chemicals for the upcoming 2023-2024 ski season.

[Denver Post]

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