A new study by Gail Carlson, assistant professor of environmental studies and director of the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment, and Skylar Tupper ’20 has been published in the journal Chemosphere. The paper, titled “Ski wax use contributes to environmental contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” looks at these hazardous environmental contaminants at a central Maine recreation center.

“We examined the environmental impact of ski wax use at an outdoor recreation area with significant cross-country ski activity by measuring PFAS levels in melted snow, soil, and water following a collegiate ski race. We found extremely high levels of long- and short-chain PFAS (C4–C14) contamination in snow at the race start line (∑[PFAS] 7600–10,700 ng/L), with the longer-chain analytes (C10–C14) predominating,” the authors wrote in the paper’s abstract. “Our results suggest that ski wax use, from which fluorocarbons abrade at very high levels onto snow during a ski race, are the main source of PFAS contamination at our site. Regulation of ski wax use is warranted to reduce PFAS pollution.”