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PFAS Firefighting Foam Should Be Banned Due to Toxicity

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

For many years, civilian airports have been forced by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules to stock and use PFAS-based firefighting foam.

What is PFAS-based firefighting foam?  According to the Safer Chemicals website, “Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are extremely persistent chemicals linked to cancer, liver toxicity, and other health effects. Firefighters have used and trained with PFAS-based foam at commercial and military airports for decades. The PFAS in foam has contaminated drinking water for millions of people nationwide while also putting firefighters at greater risk of toxic chemical exposures that can cause cancer and chronic disease.  

Companies like 3M and DuPont knew for years that PFAS were harmful, but they continued to make the chemicals and put them into a wide array of products. 3M, which recently settled a lawsuit with the state of Minnesota for $850 million, phased out its production of PFAS for firefighting foam by the end of 2002, but other companies have continued to make it.”

This dangerous firefighting foam not only exposes our firefighters to these dangerous toxic chemicals, the foam evenutally seeps into the groundwater polluting the drinking water in the communities around airports and places where the firefighters are using this dangerous chemical.

In their role of public safety advocacy, Safer Chemicals has reported that “Recognizing the persistent threat of PFAS-based firefighting foams to community water supplies, the vulnerability of first responders, the potential liability of the airports, and the growing availability of PFAS-free alternatives, Congress told the FAA to allow commercial airports to use PFAS-free firefighting foams in its 2018 Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.”

And yet, the FAA drags its feet in implementing the Congressional directives concerning this dangerous firefighting foam.  Most US airports are still subject to their use and endangering the lives of brave firefighters and the surrounding communities.  

These chemicals are linked to serious environmental and health problems. Check out Safer Chemicals fact sheets, which draw from the leading peer-reviewed science.

For those who’ve been exposed to these dangerous chemicals, the attorneys at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman are ready to help.  Please contact us for a free initial consultation. 

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