Read the full article by Garret Ellison (MLive)
“LANSING, MI — Fire departments would have 48 hours to tell state regulators about the use of a chemical-based firefighting foam type that’s caused drinking water contamination around Michigan under legislation signed into law.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bills 4389 and 4390 on Wednesday, July 8. The bills regulate the use and reporting of aqueous film forming foam, or AFFF, made with ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS.
Firefighters would also get more training for handling PFAS-based foams under the bills, which were sponsored by Reps. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, and Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond.
The bills, introduced last March, are the first substantial state legislation passed to address PFAS contamination beyond funding for emergency response and cleanup.
By signing the bills, ‘we ensure any time a fire department uses firefighting foam that contains PFAS, the state is notified and the foam can be disposed of, so these forever chemicals don’t seep into our drinking water and needlessly harm Michiganders,’ Whitmer said.
Yaroch, a former firefighter from Macomb County, said the health risks of PFAS exposure weren’t previously well understood within the fire service.
The chemicals are considered harmful at the low parts-per-trillion (ppt) level in the bodies of people exposed and can increase the risk of kidney and testicular cancer, suppress the body’s immune system response and cause pregnancy complications and low birth weight.
‘The training in the past was more on the mechanism for delivering the foam and not as much on the health risks,’ Yaroch said. ‘When I was in the fire department, PFAS was not known to have all these health risks.’
Bill 4389 requires municipal or airport fire chiefs to file a written report about a foam-use incident to the Michigan pollution emergency alert system within 48 hours. It also formalizes a state program started last year to collect Class B AFFF foam, which has resulted in more than 30,000 gallons being shipped to a hazardous waste landfill for disposal…”