This bill is a chapter amendment to S.439-A/A.445-A, which phases out the use of toxic PFAS chemicals in class B firefighting foam. The chapter amendment eliminates the permanent exemptions included in the legislation passed by the State Legislature, meaning the requirements to phase out PFAS foam will now apply to chemical plants, oil refineries, and fuel storage and distribution facilities.
Additionally, the Office of Fire Prevention and Control may promulgate a regulation allowing specific uses of PFAS foam for which effective PFAS-free foams are not available. This exemption must be reevaluated at least every two years and repealed if effective PFAS-free foams become available.
We strongly approve of the elimination of the permanent exemptions to the PFAS phase out. PFAS-free foams are readily available on the market, have been proven effective, and are used in every relevant industry. Oil and gas companies that use PFAS-free foams include Equinor, BP, and ExxonMobil. Fire departments across the country have made the switch, including in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Chemical companies like 3M and Chemours use PFAS-free foam, and DuPont recently announced that they will eliminate PFAS foams at their sites by the end of 2021.
We have seen no evidence that a single exemption to the PFAS phase-out is warranted, and we will oppose any attempt by the Office of Fire Control and Prevention to issue exemptions. There is no reason to backtrack when New York made such progress to protect clean water in 2019. We know that we can protect the safety of our communities, firefighters, and drinking water with PFAS-free foams.
This bill amends the general business law and general municipal law to phase out the use of PFAS chemicals in class B firefighting foam.