How to Perform Greenwashing

The case study of fluor and the International Ski Federation (FIS)

Marjan Krebelj


A while ago, the FIS banned the use of fluorine in ski waxes at professional tournaments. I don’t know if this applies to recreational skiing (I guess not), but it’s a funny example of how greenwashing works in the modern age.

Now, I’m not an expert in skiing or the use of fluorine, so I turned to an expert, in this case, ChatGPT, to explain the core of the problem. Here’s what it said:

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, there were concerns related 
to the use of fluorinated ski waxes primarily from the perspective of
health and the environment. However, it's important to note that regulations
and industry practices may have evolved since then. Here are some of the
key concerns:

**Health Concerns:**

1. **Worker Health:** The production and application of fluorinated
ski waxes involve the handling of potentially harmful chemicals.
Exposure to these chemicals can pose health risks to workers in
the ski wax industry. Prolonged exposure to some fluorinated compounds
has been associated with health issues, including respiratory problems.

2. **Skier Exposure:** There were concerns that skiers and ski resort
staff could be exposed to fluorinated wax particles in the air or
through direct skin contact. While the concentration and extent of
exposure can vary, some studies suggested potential health risks
associated with these exposures.

**Environmental Concerns:**

1. **Water Contamination:** The application of fluorinated ski waxes
can result in the release of perfluorinated compounds into the environment.
These compounds can persist in water bodies and soil, potentially leading
to water contamination. This could harm aquatic ecosystems and potentially
affect human health through the consumption of contaminated water.

2. **Bioaccumulation:** Some per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS),
which are used in fluorinated waxes, can bioaccumulate in organisms,
potentially entering the food chain. This poses environmental risks and
may also impact human health if people consume fish or other organisms
that have accumulated these compounds.

3. **Air Pollution:** The use of high-fluorinated waxes has been
linked to the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when skiers
apply the wax and then heat it. VOCs contribute to air pollution, which
can have negative effects on both human health and the environment.

Due to these concerns, there has been a push…



Marjan Krebelj

Once an architect, now a freelance photographer/filmmaker with passion for words.