The International Biathlon Union (IBU) announced today that it will implement a full ban of ski preparation products containing fluor at all its event series from the 2023/2024 season onwards.
The IBU committed to banning fluor products used in ski preparation in 2020 based on the apparent health risks and environmental concerns connected to fluorine waxes. Working with Bruker, a leading manufacturer of high-performance scientific instruments, while maintaining a close collaboration with the International Ski Federation (FIS) through a joint working group, the IBU has developed an effective testing method using the Alpha II device. The device provides reliable testing to ensure fluor-free biathlon competitions. IBU will test to ensure that skis are fluor-free at each IBU event, guaranteeing the integrity of competitions and a level playing field.
The IBU held joined tests of the device with its National Federations (NFs) and industry representatives at 15 IBU events, as well as 3 sessions during spring and summer. A full procedure test was conducted successfully during the WC in Östersund and final meetings with Technicians and the IBU Athletes Committee were held at the World Cup final in Oslo, Norway.
More tests and education seminars are planned for NFs, their teams and technicians, and for partners from the industry well before the season starts. More information about the testing procedures on-site at competitions and about the integration into the IBU Event and Competition Rules will be communicated in due course.
The IBU had prohibited possessing, applying, using, selling, giving-out or trading any products containing C8 fluorocarbons/PFOA at all IBU events, in line with EU Regulations, which define the handling of high-carbon fluorine waxes, already in the 2021/2022 season.
This previous ban stated that it is prohibited to produce, sell or use PFOA-products. High-carbon fluorine waxes – C8 products – fell under this ban, whilst low chain fluor C6 products were still allowed used at IBU events.
To implement the ban, all National Federations and wax companies accredited for an IBU event were required to sign a self-declaration and the IBU conducted spot checks of materials in use by teams or ski wax companies and individuals at IBU events.