"PFAS Foam Replacement Challenges Nation’s Fire Departments"

"Fire departments face liability risks and potentially huge costs and uncertainties as they switch from PFAS-enabled firefighting foam, according to lawyers and groups working with them.

The Pentagon’s recent release of its requirements for firefighting suppressants that could substitute for PFAS-based aqueous film-forming foam increases the pressure on fire departments to stop using AFFF, said Bradley M. Pinsky, an attorney with the Pinsky Law Group, PLLC, which counsels fire departments and districts.

AFFF, used primarily by the military but also by civilian firefighters, has polluted drinking water across the country and raised concerns about potential harm to health, including an elevated risk of cancer. Twenty-four states have banned training with AFFF or otherwise restrict its use.

Fire departments need information on the performance and safety of alternatives, guidance to get rid of old foam safely, and money to pay for disposal and buy substitutes, attorneys, state officials, and fire professionals said in recent interviews. Departments also face potential liability over cleanups in places where they used the old foam, they said."

Pat Rizzuto and Zach Bright report for Bloomberg Environment January 24, 2023.

Source: Bloomberg Environment, 01/25/2023