SKI RACERS REJOICE! SWIX HF and LF WAX, EPA and TSCA Compliant
Great news for US ski racers who depend on Swix high and low fluorinated wax! Swix is the big dog in the world of ski wax, in both alpine skiing and nordic. Swix fluorinated wax and cleaners are once again, available in the US.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently tightened chemical ingredient compliance procedures for consumer products, all chemical substances must now be approved by the EPA, before use.
In the past, an importer of fluorinated waxes and cleaners could simply ask the upstream supplier if their mixture complied with the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. If the supplier stated their mixture was in compliance that was enough to satisfy the EPA standards and regulations.
A couple of years ago the EPA stopped the practice of relying on verbal compliance of the chemical make up of mixtures used to manufacture fluorinated wax. Fluorinated waxes are a combination of fluorine and several other chemicals, some of which can be extremely toxic to the environment and individuals working with it. When the TSA ruling came down stating that importers and US manufactures must submit a verified list of chemical ingredients and those ingredients had to comply with the EPA. US importers of Swix and Toko that had depended on verification from the upstream supplier outside the US were caught in a situation requiring them to set up a system of verification and the offshore suppliers had to make sure that their products being shipped to the US would stand up to TSCA standards.
Last summer when all this started, there was quite a bit of confusion about the availability of Swix HF and LF fluorinated glide wax, kick wax, liquid wax, and cleaner in the US. Two of our guys, both who ran Granite Chief’s tuning center, were now working with the US Ski Team. Before leaving for Europe with their athletes Jesse Cassidy and Josh Benge ordered large quantities of HF and LF glide wax. Two weeks before heading out, the wax was still back-ordered. The day before flying out still no wax. This time the local wax rep informed them that there were problems with getting the chemical make up of the fluorinated waxes verified and tested. The whole process of being in total compliance took the entire 2018/2019 ski season and ran through the summer.
Ski racers are the big beneficiaries of fluorinated waxes. High fluorinated and low fluorinated waxes disperse water droplets down the ski quickly making the ski glide very fast. LF wax is fast, HF wax is super fast. When the water droplets disperse and track away from the ski base, it breaks up the surface tension. These waxes are not only fast but also very expensive, 60 grams of LF has a manufacturer suggested retail price of $33.00, our retail price $27, HF has an MSRP of $100, our price, $78. Sixty grams of fluorinated wax will coat a couple of pairs of skis. Most recreational skiers wouldn’t use fluorinated wax due to the cost. But when a split second can mean winning a spot on the podium cost isn’t a factor.
Talking with Jesse about how the US Ski Team was dealing with the situation he explained that team tuners would have to track down local Swix reps while in Europe to purchase and stock up on fluorinated waxes and cleaners. It was a pain and slowed things down but at that level, skiing without fluorinated wax isn’t an option.
These waxes do have toxic properties, LF wax is low enough that it doesn’t pose a big problem but when working with HF all the tuners wear a ventilated face mask.
It took Swix USA more time to complete the extensive review of all the chemical substances contained in their products and obtain the necessary documentation to ensure 100% compliance with TSCA, Toxic Substance Control Act then the company expected. The long investigative process is complete and Swix HF and LF fluorinated wax are once again running fast in the US. All package labeling and testing, are up to date.
Anyone using fluorinated waxes should take the time to log on the swixonline.com and read up on the safety data sheets. Or stop by Granite Chief and talk with Jesse, yes, we're happy to say, he's back with us. Jesse, always eager to talk waxing and tuning, will give you the lowdown.