Toxic-Free Foam

Environmental Advocates Strongly Support this Bill

Explanation: 

This legislation bans the use, manufacture, sale, or distribution of firefighting foam containing intentionally added Per- and Polyfluoroakyl substances (PFAS).

The danger that PFAS chemicals pose to human health is well-known. According to the EPA, exposure to PFOA and PFOS, the most studied PFAS chemicals, has been linked to high rates of thyroid disease, immune suppression, and reduced fertility.[1] PFOA and PFOS have already caused devastating water contamination crises in New York communities like Hoosick Falls, Petersburgh, and Newburgh.

Firefighting foam is a major source of exposure to PFAS chemicals. Studies have found elevated levels of PFAS chemicals in firefighters,[2] and the foam can also leach into groundwater supplies after use, where it can persist for years. We need to ensure that the men and women who keep our communities safe are safe on the job, and to prevent these toxic chemicals from poisoning our drinking water.

Washington State has already banned the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam, and New York should now follow suit to ensure the strongest protections for public health.

[1] EPA, Drinking Water Health Advisory for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), (May 2016), available at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-05/documents/pfoa_health_advisory_final-plain.pdf; EPA, Drinking Water Health Advisory for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), (May 2016), available at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-05/documents/pfos_health_advisory_final_508.pdf

[2] Rotander A, Kärrman A, Toms L, Kay M et al. (2015). Novel fluorinated surfactants tentatively identified in firefighters using liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry and a case-control approach. Environ Sci Technol 49:2434- 2442.

 

Summary: 

This bill amends the executive law by banning the use, manufacture, sale, or distribution of firefighting foam containing intentionally added Per- and Polyfluoroakyl substances (PFAS).

Memo #: 

77