Bulletin #61, PFAS crisis management
The Foam Exposure Committee recommends the following actions because there is no way presently to remove PFAS from the human body:
- Identify your fire department’s current firefighting foam product – does it contain PFAS?
- Stop using foam that contains PFAS which means all AFFF – minimum.
- Properly dispose of foams containing PFAS based upon your state’s recommendations.
- If possible, replace fire apparatus including anything that PFAS was in.
‘Cleaning out’ an apparatus foam tank can still mean PFAS remains in the tank – a three wash and rinse will only contribute to a quadrupling of the water needed to ‘clean’ the foam out. Residual will still remain within the tank even with warm water. The additional rinsing will add to the volume of PFAS water contamination. Your rinse water is now batch-mixed foam product.
‘Most currently available remediation technologies do not actually destroy PFAS,’ Minakata said. ‘Instead, these technologies transfer PFAS from one phase to another. They are conveniently implemented in order to meet the new EPA regulations. But it’s going to backfire. Unless we fully destroy the structure of PFAS, we’re bound to encounter larger, more fundamental problems.’1
At present, there is no known method of completely removing PFAS from an apparatus foam tank, human blood or body. Remediation costs for water are cost prohibitive. Where is PFAS? ‘Depots, airports, fire stations – anywhere where fire fighting foam has been used.’2
Be certain your new firefighting foam is truly fluorine-free. You can note Section 15 or 16 on the SDS (after 2019).
For more information contact the Foam Exposure committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Michigan Tech News, Farewell Forever Chemicals: Researchers Arim to Eliminate PFAS for Good, Kimberly Geiger, March 31, 2022, www.mtu.edu/news/2022/03/farewell-forever-chemicals-researchers-aim-to-eliminate-pfas-for-good.html