Health & Safety, News

Report Examines Groundwater Contamination from Firefighting Foam in CA

Firefighter advancing a hoseline

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on the local effects of groundwater contamination associated with certain types of firefighting foams used on military bases.

The chemicals, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), have seeped into the groundwater underneath nearly two dozen military bases throughout the state of California, the report indicated. Officials have reportedly performed only limited testing of these areas and cannot say how many sources of civilian drinking water are affected by the toxic chemicals.

RELATED: The Legacy of Firefighting Foam

Often referred to as “forever chemicals,” PFAS can persist indefinitely in the ground and water, be absorbed into people’s blood and accumulate in their bodies for years, according to the report.

California is not alone. The Times report says the Pentagon has found the cancer-linked pollutants at levels above federal health guidelines in soil and groundwater at numerous bases nationwide, and some reports estimate that about 110 million Americans could be drinking contaminated water.

In addition to water contamination, legislators at the national level have introduced bipartisan legislation to analyze firefighters’ occupational exposure to PFAs in their personal protective equipment.