US EPA released an enforcement alert
earlier this year after identifying several ski wax products sold in the US that contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are not listed on the Toxic Substance Control Act Chemical Substance Inventory (TSCA Inventory). The alert follows enforcement actions in which two ski product distributors allegedly imported PFAS-containing ski waxes in violation of TSCA.
The Agency published the notice to remind ski wax sellers to ensure that the products they sell do not contain PFAS that are not on the TSCA Inventory or have prohibitions on their use in sporting goods.
EPA recommends reviewing the product's Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or contacting a manufacturer or supplier for details about chemical identity information. Manufacturers and importers may also contact EPA's TSCA Hotline
with additional questions about compliance.
TSCA Premanufacture Notification (PMN)
Under TSCA, any person seeking to manufacture or import a new chemical substance for a non-exempt commercial purpose must submit a premanufacture notification (PMN) at least 90 days before manufacture, import, or processing of the chemical.
PMN submissions must include information like:
- Chemical identity;
- Structure and formula;
- Production volume;
- Byproducts and impurities;
- Intended use;
- Environmental release;
- Disposal practices;
- Human exposure; and
- Test data on the effect to human health or the environment.
(See 40 CFR 720.45 and 720.50)
Anyone who imports or manufactures a chemical that is not on the TSCA Inventory without submitting a PMN
may be subject to potential enforcement actions and costly civil penalties.
On May 13, 2020, a well-known international ski equipment manufacturer was issued a civil penalty of $375,625
and ordered to complete a $1 million outreach project. According to EPA, there are 83 instances in which the company imported ski wax products containing PFAS that were not included on the TSCA Inventory or otherwise exempt for commercial purposes.
Vermont Prohibits PFAS in Ski Waxes and More
On May 18, 2021, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed legislation into law that effectively prohibits the sale of certain products containing PFAS. The legislation bans these “Forever Chemicals” from ski wax,
food packaging, firefighting foams, carpets, rugs, and aftermarket stain and water-resistant treatments.
The legislation went into effect on July 1, 2021. Manufacturers of food packaging, rugs, carpets (as well as related treatment products), and ski wax must phase out the use of PFAS in company products sold in Vermont by July 1, 2023.
The greater ski community has also shifted away from PFAS-containing ski waxes
in recent years, due to concerns of inhalation and environmental pollution during application. The U.S. Ski & Snowboard joined the International Ski Federation (FIS) and International Biathlon Union (IBU) in banning the use of PFAS-containing ski wax in all competitions in the US starting with the 2020-21 ski and snowboard season.
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