Gov. Cuomo Signs Bill to Phase Out Toxic PFAS in Firefighting Foam

For Immediate Release: December 23, 2019

Gov. Cuomo Signs Bill to Phase Out Toxic PFAS in Firefighting Foam

Today Governor Cuomo signed S.439-A/A.445-A, to phase out the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam. The release of PFAS foam into the environment has caused drinking water contamination across New York State, including in Newburgh and Hampton Bays. 

The State Legislature and Governor Cuomo have agreed to a chapter amendment to S.439-A/A.445-A. The chapter amendment will eliminate the permanent exemptions to the PFAS foam phase-out included in the bill passed by the State Senate and Assembly. Requirements to phase out PFAS foam will now apply to chemical plants, oil refineries, and fuel storage and distribution facilities.

Under the chapter amendment, the Office of Fire Control and Prevention 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 This exemption must be reevaluated at least every two years and repealed if effective PFAS-free foams become available.

The following quote can be attributed to Rob Hayes, clean water associate for Environmental Advocates of New York:

“Today, we celebrate a victory for clean water. Phasing out PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam will eliminate a major source of water pollution in New York State, resulting in cleaner and healthier drinking water for all residents. We extend our thanks to Governor Cuomo for signing this bill, and to Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Phil Steck for tirelessly championing clean water in the State Legislature. Passing this bill required collaboration from a diverse and dedicated coalition, from firefighters to local governments to environmental advocates in impacted communities around the state. We are proud to stand in solidarity with them on this incredible win.”

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