Read the full article by Rick Karlin (Albany Times Union)
“COHOES – News last winter that the Norlite aggregate plant here had been incinerating hazardous PFAS-laden firefighting foam shocked the city council and prompted it in the spring to impose a moratorium on the burning.
At the time, the foam was said to come mostly from fire departments across the Northeast including Vermont and New Hampshire as well as military installations.
Now, however, a series of data sheets on the incineration show that the foam came from far and wide, including local sources such as Hudson Valley Community College, and an aluminum manufacturer in Fonda, Montgomery County.
Other sources included a GlobalFoundries facility in Vermont, affiliated with the large chip factory in Saratoga County, as well as the Watervliet Arsenal about four miles from Norlite.
IBM also shipped a small amount of the foam to Norlite.
All told, state Department of Environmental Conservation data sheets indicate more than 2 million pounds of the foam were burned at Norlite in 2018 and 2019.
And the scope of sources shows how pervasive the use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) and its components, PFAS, are in everyday life.
The foam is a fire suppressant made with PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
PFAS chemicals are associated with thyroid illness, cancers and other health problems, and there is concern they can seep into water supplies. Because PFAs, based on a carbon-fluorine bond, are so slow to break down they can remain in a person’s bloodstream for a long time and there are worries that even low levels, such as parts per billion, could cause problems.
Because of that, AFFF is being phased out by most firefighting organizations.
But scores of barrels remain in storage across the country…”