In 2019, BRAV, together with TOKO and SWIX, decided to switch the wax and care range completely to fluorine-free products. In the same year, the FIS also announced the Fluor Ban, which was, however, postponed to the 23/24 season. But we stay with it! TOKO is fluorine free - an important step for us into an environmentally friendly and responsible future. We are proud to go on the TOKO Way into the future.
The topic of "fluorine-free ski waxes" has caused a lot of uncertainty in the ski scene in the last 2 to 3 years. Therefore, we would like to answer some questions here
Fluorine forms a very stable compound in combination with carbon. This compound is known, for example, from Teflon, which is used in pans. Teflon can be heated relatively hot and nothing happens. But fluorocarbon compounds are also found in membranes and lubricants. Why is this so special? Because fluorocarbon has four special properties. It is water, dirt and oil repellent and nothing can stick to fluorocarbons. These properties are the perfect conditions for a good ski wax like liquid wax or fluor powder. Fluorine has been used for 40 years, but there has been a development there as well. That is, the fluorine products that were used 40 years ago are significantly worse than the fluorine products that are used today.
Teflon itself is an inert material, I have to put a lot of energy into it to destroy it. But to produce this material in the first place, I have starting products, these actually represent the danger. One of them, for example, is perfluoro-octane acids, abbreviated PFOS. These have been banned in the EU and other countries since 2020 and may no longer be used. It can be detected in blood and organs. They are very stable compounds that have a long-term effect and that the body no longer excretes. For example, studies have been done on ski waxes. Blood samples were taken from them and it was found that they have an increased concentration of octane acids in their blood. This is not good, of course. Therefore, there was a regulation that these materials may no longer be used in all products.
Extensive research has revealed that fluorocarbons can be harmful to the environment as well as to the human body. Fluorine compounds accumulate and can be degraded only with difficulty or not at all, especially liver and kidney are affected. It should be noted that such fluorine compounds are often used in our general society as well as in industry (seat cushions, bags, floor coverings). This does not mean that all products containing these fluorine compounds are automatically harmful. They are only harmful if they are released and come into contact with the body or the environment. This can be the case, for example, when cooking with a Teflon pan with a damaged coating. Thus, even when heating wax, vapors and gases can be produced, which are potentially harmful to the body.
In 2019, the EU Regulation 2020 was introduced, which prohibits the use of certain fluorine compounds. We have decided to completely eliminate fluorine from all our products.
Pure fluorine is very harmful. It irritates the eyes and the respiratory tract. The whole fluorine chemistry, not Teflon, but the chemistry as it is used, is very dangerous. It's not essential for the body, but as an example fluorine toothpaste: you can ask yourself, if it's so dangerous, why does it go into toothpaste, but no longer into ski wax? The fluorides that are used there are in very low concentrations. You don't eat the toothpaste, you spit it out. The concentration, as always, makes the poison in the body. When waxing, you use an iron. With the very high temperature when ironing out the powders, fumes are produced. If you don't protect yourself with a mask, you inhale those fumes. The fluorine settles in my lungs and stays there for a very long time. You can't control what then happens in the body. We know it affects the thyroid gland, the hormone balance, and it is suspected of being carcinogenic. They're all properties that we don't want to have. All of this is one of the reasons why Toko has decided to stop putting fluorine products on the market.
It is not possible to replace fluorine with a single substance. Instead, the fluorine-free products contain an innovative technology of three different additives such as glider, antistatic agent and hardener. These stand for maximum water and dirt repellency, optimal gliding properties, highest terminal velocity and high abrasion resistance.
Other additives are equally expensive as fluorine. Since fluorine cannot be replaced with one substance, several different additives must be mixed in to achieve similar or the same properties.
The fluor waxes were broadband waxes. This means that they covered very wide temperature ranges. The new fluorine-free waxes are designed for more specific conditions and are ideal for mixing. (see waxchart) Before market introduction all products are tested in the World Cup. Season 20/21 showed that our fluorine-free waxes were well accepted in the World Cup even before the fluorine ban. Several podiums have already been achieved in the World Cup with our fluorine-free waxes.
All fluorine products have been destroyed and nothing is produced anymore.
All our fluorine-free products are marked with the PFC Free or Fluorine Free logo.