Read the full article by Sharon Udasin (The Hill)
The PFAS Firefighter Protection Act would prohibit the manufacture, import and sale of all firefighting foam that includes these chemicals — also called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — within two years of enactment, according to a copy of the bill exclusively obtained by The Hill.
Known as forever chemicals due to their propensity to linger in the human body and in the environment, PFAS are most notorious for their presence in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), used to fight jet fuel fires on military bases and at civilian airports.
Also present in industrial discharge and a variety of household products, PFAS are linked to kidney cancer, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and other illnesses.
‘PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam jeopardize the health, safety, and well-being of firefighters who have put their lives on the line to protect our communities,’ Gillibrand said in a statement.
‘To make matters worse, the runoff from this foam can quickly lead to widespread PFAS contamination in the drinking water of surrounding communities near the facilities where it is used,’ she added.
Both military bases and civilian airports have been using AFFF for decades, although the Air Force has limited its use to emergencies only. Such widespread use of the foam has led to contamination of adjacent waterways, impacting those who live or work near such facilities.
…If passed by Congress, the legislation would ensure that ‘no person may manufacture, import, process, or distribute in commerce any aqueous film forming foam for use in training and firefighting that contains a per- or polyfluoroalkyl substance,’ according to the bill’s text.
The bill would also set firm deadlines for prohibiting the use of AFFF firefighting foams at airports, with a goal of doing so by 2024.
Congress has already passed legislation removing the legal requirement that PFAS-based foams be used at commercial airports and military installations, the lawmakers noted in a statement.”…