“The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is suing the manufacturers and sellers of a fire-suppressant foam that allegedly contaminated a portion of the local water supply with highly toxic chemicals.

For decades, Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, or AFFF, has been used by the Department of Defense and other agencies to put out flammable liquid fires. Until the turn of the 21st century, the foam was manufactured using a pair of chemicals that have been linked to birth defects, organ damage, increased risk of cancers and other adverse health impacts.

AFFF has been used for training exercises and firefighting in at least two local facilities — Pensacola International Airport and the now defunct Bronson Field Naval Auxiliary Air Station. The ECUA alleges toxins from the foam, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) have seeped into the soil and groundwater around those areas and contaminated four ECUA water wells.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, names five companies — 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products LP, Chemguard Inc., Buckeye Fire Equipment Company and National Foam Inc. — as defendants, along with up to 49 ‘John Doe’ defendants who manufactured, sold and distributed AFFF.

The ECUA complaint claims ‘the defendants’ conduct has injured and continues to injure the property, health, safety and/or comfort of a considerable number of persons, including a considerable number of persons in Escambia County, Florida.’

The defendants have not yet filed a response to the complaint…

The lawsuit does not list any specific health impacts to citizens of Pensacola and Escambia County, it simply notes PFOA and PFOS have been detected and/or are present in the wells at levels above the federally advised health guidelines…

The complaint accuses the defendants of numerous transgressions including negligence, public nuisance, failure to warn of potential hazards and design and distribution of a defective product.

The ECUA is seeking punitive damages and the costs of past, present and future investigation, sampling, treatment, remediation, maintenance and monitoring of its wells and systems.”

Read the full article by Kevin Robinson