This morning the International Biathlon Union (IBU) and the International Ski Federation announced they were postponing their fluoro wax bans until the 2021-2022 season. The stated reason in the IBU press release was the following: “allow more time to test and refine the Fluorine Tracker device that is currently under development.”
FIS also claimed the device was not ready for use on the World Cup: “Despite the accuracy of the device measurement technology, testing also indicated that there were potential sources of measurement error related to other aspects of the testing system that require further testing and design adjustments to ensure absolutely fair and consistent results for all competitors.”
FIS stated “user error” could cause discrepancies in fluoro readings. Further, they revealed the device required an additional sensor to eliminate false readings caused by different “base materials, structures and base preparations.”
Both the IBU and FIS asserted they remain committed to a fluoro free race circuit in the future. This season, waxes that meet EU guidelines are permitted. Effective July 4, 2020 the EU banned ban the use of of PFOAs, otherwise known as C8, below a 0.025mg/kg limit. The threshold is so low, the chemicals are essentially banned from commercial use. In the ski industry, C8 waxes are considerd to impact speed more readily than their C6 cousins in humid and dirty snow conditions. C6 based fluoro waxes are permitted in Europe.