NY Bans Use of Toxic Chemical in Firefighting Foam

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -
PFAS appears in firefighting foam that has been routinely used on military bases nationwide.(Department of Defense)

New York plans to restrict the use of firefighting foam that contains certain chemicals that have the potential to contaminate groundwater.

Firefighting foam can contain polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, which are man-made chemicals that research suggests can increase the risk of high blood pressure in expectant women and lower birth weights.

PFAS have been used for decades in a range of products, including foam, non-stick cookware, fast-food wrappers and stain-resistant sprays. The chemicals have been drawing more scrutiny as potentially toxic contaminants in recent years.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved legislation last month that would ban the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS for training purposes.

The bill passed by lawmakers would also ban the use of foam with PFAS to fight fires from different kinds of liquids. But Gov. Cuomo, a Democrat, says there aren’t yet effective alternatives to firefighting foam with PFAS for all liquids.

He said he’s secured an agreement with legislators to allow the state to decide when “exceptions to the bill need to be made to allow for effective alterations that will maintain environmental safety.”