Congress passed legislation today that will give commercial airports the option to switch to firefighting foams that do not include the highly toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS.
The new provision was part of a larger legislative package to fund the Federal Aviation Administration and bolster disaster relief programs. Firefighting foams made with PFAS chemicals are a significant and widespread source of drinking water contamination throughout the country.
Under current law, airports are required to use firefighting foams that contain these chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, kidney disease and other health problems.
“Firefighting foam is a significant source of PFAS contamination in drinking water throughout the country,” said EWG Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh. “This legislation is a critical first step to allow airports to switch to the less toxic alternatives, which are already being used safely and effectively in other countries. We applaud Congress, especially Senators Sullivan, Thune, Peters, and Nelson, and Representatives Upton, Shuster, DeFazio and Kildee, for taking this important action to protect public health.”
Recent research by EWG estimates that roughly 110 million Americans could have PFAS-contaminated drinking water.