Bill Could Ban Use of PFAS in Firefighter Training

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In what could be the first of its kind state law addressing PFAS in Connecticut, members of the Environment Committee learned more Friday about proposed legislation that would ban Connecticut fire departments from using firefighting foam containing PFAS for any training purposes.

“It’s a very important resource to help extinguish dangerous fires, we know that there are safer substitutes that are available,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said.

The firefighting foam is used to extinguish flammable liquid fires used in emergencies like the vintage plane crash in October at Bradley International Airport. PFAS has been linked to health concerns like cancer and reproductive issues.

The law would ban using the foam for training by July 1, 2021.

The bill also proposes that by Oct. 1, 2021, DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes must develop a take-back program for cities and towns, an initiative now backed by a $2 million bond fund in Governor Lamont’s proposed budget.

“We need to move forward with the take-back program working with our municipalities to ensure that we can get firefighting foam off the shelves that contains PFAS, dispose of it properly and safely and then replace it with safe substitutes,” Dykes said.

State fire administrators estimate there are 36,000 gallons of firefighting foam across Connecticut’s municipal fire departments, Dykes says getting rid and replacing the foam will take time.

“It’s very important that we’re not creating a worse problem of substituting something that we know is bad with something that may also may be bad that we don’t know about,” Dykes said.

The bill also proposes that by July 2022, no one can use the foam for any firefighting purposes unless there is petroleum involved and no alternative foam has been named.

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