Deal Would Allow Airports to Stop Using PFAS-containing Foams


A provision in legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration would allow airports to use firefighting foams that don’t contain fluorinated chemicals.Commercial airports are currently required to follow standards outlined in military specifications, which call for fluorinated foams to be used.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a subset of fluorinated chemicals, explained Tom Bruton, a scientist with the Green Science Policy Institute.

PFAS have contaminated the drinking water of millions of Americans. The chemicals have been widely used for decades in everything from firefighting foam to carpeting.

“This provision, it gives airports the freedom to choose firefighting foams that don’t contain PFAS. It lets them use fluorine-free foams that are used safely and effectively in other countries,” Bruton said.

“Unlike the foams that are currently being used in the U.S. at airports and by the military, the fluorine-free foams don’t contain persistent and toxic chemicals that will contaminate water supplies, so this should reduce the amount of expensive cleanup that airports are on the hook for,” he added.

Courtney Columbus

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