Read the full article by Monica Amarelo (EWG)

“SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, California Gov. Gavin Newson signed into law a measure to ban the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS from firefighting foams. PFAS-based firefighting foams – known as aqueous film-fighting foam, or AFFF –are among the most significant sources of PFAS water contamination.

Authored by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), the law bans the manufacture, sale and use of firefighting foam containing PFAS from use in most applications by January 1, 2022.

The state is required to track sales and keep the public informed of the ban. Use in training classes also are barred, and manufacturers have to disclose to buyers whether firefighting gear contains the compounds. The bill also restricts the disposal of unused foams.

Violations are subject to civil penalties of up to $5,000 for a first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

‘This year has made abundantly clear the crucial work of our heroic firefighters,’ said Bill Allayaud, EWG’s director of government affairs for California. ‘Toxic PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams put their health at risk for cancer and other serious health issues. We thank Gov. Newsom for protecting them from this exposure by signing this bill into law, and thank Sen. Allen for authoring it.’

 ‘At least 7.5 million Californians have PFAS in their drinking water supplies, and the historic use of PFAS-based firefighting foams is one of the sources of this contamination,’ Allayaud said. Given that the state is in the process of testing its drinking water sources for PFAS, the number is likely much higher.

Even very low doses of PFAS chemicals in drinking water have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, liver or thyroid disease and other health problems. PFAS do not break down in the environment, spread quickly and bioaccumulate. All of the detections in California water systems’ sources exceeded 1 part per trillion, or ppt, the safe level recommended by the best independent studies and endorsed by EWG.

In 2019, a white paper by an international team of experts at the International Pollutants Elimination Network, or IPEN, found ‘unequivocal evidence’ that firefighters using foams made with PFAS had ‘unacceptably’ high levels of two types of PFAS in their blood…”