The IBU has created an effective testing method to test for fluor at its events ©IBU

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has announced it has introduced a blanket ban on ski preparation products containing fluor at all events for the 2022-2023 season and beyond due to its "apparent health risks and environmental concerns connected to fluorine waxes".

Biathlon’s worldwide governing body said it has developed an effective testing method by using the Alpha II device after working with Bruker, a manufacturer of high-performance scientific instruments, as well as the International Ski Federation (FIS) through a joint working group.

"The device provides reliable testing to ensure fluor-free biathlon competitions," the IBU remarked in a statement.

"IBU will test to ensure that skis are fluor-free at each IBU event, guaranteeing the integrity of competitions and a level playing field."

The International Federation commented that tests of the device were carried out with National Federations (NFs) and industry representatives at four World Cup events.

It was also shown to the IBU Athletics Committee at the World Cup final in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.

The IBU added: "More tests and education seminars are planned for NFs, their teams and technicians, and for partners from the industry well before the season starts.

The IBU has completely banned the use of fluorinated wax products at its events ©Getty Images
The IBU has completely banned the use of fluorinated wax products at its events ©Getty Images

"More information about the testing procedures on-site at competitions and about the integration into the IBU Event and Competition Rules will be communicated in due course."

When US Ski and Snowboard banned fluorinated wax in October 2020, it said that the perfluorooctanoic acid compounds - which make up these products - "have been scientifically studied for their negative environmental and health impacts".

The European Union banned certain fluorine compounds in July 2020.

In June 2021, the IBU banned National Federations and wax companies from "possessing, applying, using, selling, giving-out or trading" any products containing C8 fluorocarbons at all IBU-sanctioned events.

However, it continued to allow low chair fluor C6 products to be produced, sold or used.

FIS imposed a ban on the use of all fluorinated waxes across all disciplines.