Unraveling The Long-Term Impact Of PFAS Firefighting Foam Remains Elusive
The crash of a vintage B-17 bomber at Bradley International Airport raises more questions about the lasting impact of PFAS, a family of thousands of manmade chemicals.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are found in everything from nonstick cookware to firefighting foam, including the foam used by emergency personnel at the Bradley crash. Some of it ended up flowing onto land and into nearby waterways.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires airport operators to use aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF, because it’s so effective against fuel fires. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency says emerging evidence shows that some of the chemicals have been linked to health problems.
Still, the EPA has yet to officially classify some of the PFAS chemicals as hazardous, as not enough is known about their toxicity.
And with the federal mandate to use the foam, airport operators have little leeway.
“If we want to continue to operate Bradley Airport ... we have to utilize this foam,” said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority. MORE »