IBU bans highly harmful fluor products from biathlon events

The IBU has prohibited possessing, applying, using, selling, giving-out or trading any products containing C8 fluorocarbons/PFOA at all IBU events, in line with EU Regulation 2019/1021 (“POP-regulation”) and EC Regulation 1907/2006 („REACH“-regulation), which regulate the handling of high-carbon fluorine waxes. This prohibition will be implemented in the IBU Event and Competition Rules and comes into effect from season 2021/2022 onwards.

The EU regulation states that it is prohibited to produce, sell or use PFOA-products. High-carbon fluorine waxes – C8 products – fall under this ban, whilst low chain fluor C6 products are still allowed to be produced, sold or used. 

To implement the ban, all National Federations and wax companies accredited for an IBU event are required to sign a declaration stating that their teams and staff participating in IBU events will follow the IBU rules and EU / ECHA regulations. Participation in an event without prior consent will not be permitted.

Moreover, the IBU plans to perform analyses of materials produced for, or used in, the preparation of skis to confirm compliance with the IBU rules and EU / ECHA regulations. This includes spot checks of materials in use by teams or ski wax companies and individuals at IBU events. Such analyses will be conducted by experts from external and certified laboratories.

Bearing in mind the apparent health risk and environmental concerns connected to fluorine waxes, the IBU remains committed to introducing a full fluor ban and to developing testing methods to ensure fluor-free competitions in the future.

The introduction of a Fluorine Tracker that will instantly detect the presence of fluorine wax on skis will be postponed until after the season 2021/2022. The devices which are currently under development need more time to be tested and refined. The IBU maintains its commitment to working closely with its National Federations and ski wax manufacturers to develop a reliable test method which guarantees the integrity of its competitions. 

Analysis from all involved stakeholders, including wax-companies and technicians of National Federations, has shown that the new and EU-conforming fluorinated-waxes (low chain fluor C6) are competitive and therefore the use of prohibited C8 products would not give any competitive advantage.

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