Read the full article by Sylvia Carignan & Keshia Clukey (Bloomberg Law)
“States across the U.S. are deciding to dispose of nearly 1 million gallons of toxic firefighting foam outside their borders, opting to send the waste to other states to be incinerated or dumped in a landfill.
This aqueous film forming foam, or AFFF, contains chemicals that may cause cancer, liver tissue damage, and other adverse health effects. The chemicals are part of a group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that have been popping up in drinking water systems across the country.
The Environmental Protection Agency and New York are still researching the potential health risks of incinerating the chemicals. Emerging data shows that incineration may not be completely destroying the chemicals and instead exposing the public to potential health risks.
But the chemicals in drinking water are another risk. The EPA has yet to regulate PFAS in drinking water, but some states have set their own limits. Many of them are cracking down on one potential source of the chemicals by collecting buckets and drums of the foam from fire departments, airports, and other facilities that use it to extinguish fuel fires.
Now states that collected AFFF to keep it out of their water are looking for ways to get it off their hands.
The majority of states coordinating disposal of AFFF—which include New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Jersey—did so between 2017 and this year, collecting more than 932,500 gallons, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis.
Most of these states don’t have the appropriate incinerator facilities to handle the foam within their borders. New York has an incinerator that burned waste from other states. But New York opted to send its own AFFF out of state.
Sending the waste to other states for disposal just adds to the number of potential sources of PFAS, increasing the likelihood that people will be exposed to the chemicals, said Emily Lamond, member of Cole Schotz PC in Hackensack, N.J…”