What Harmful Chemical Is In Fire-Fighting Foam?

July 4, 2023
Fire-Fighting Foam

Firefighting foam is a hot issue in the fire prevention sector. Firefighting foam is an extremely powerful fire suppression weapon, helping to reduce the severity of some of the most dangerous flames, such as flammable liquid fires. Unfortunately, the most effective firefighting foam, aqueous film-forming foam or AFFF, includes PFAS, which the EPA has declared hazardous. The worry about PFAS and its usage in AFFF is serious, and it is actively transforming the fire service. If you wish to file an AFFF lawsuit, consult a lawyer today. 

The history of PFAS

PFAS, commonly known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, are a group of synthetic chemicals. PFAS, sometimes known as “forever chemicals,” contains PFOA, PFOS, Gen X, and various other fluorinated compounds with strong fluorine-carbon linkages that make them almost indestructible.

Chemists at 3M and Dupont inadvertently created PFAS. During an experiment, a coating was discovered to repel both water and oil and any approach to breaking apart the atoms inside the molecule. This substance was PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), the first PFAS to be synthesized.

Following this first discovery, Dupont used the chemical in their groundbreaking product, “Teflon.” Shortly after, 3M developed its own PFAS chemical (PFOS), “Scotchgard.”

As we now know, both of these applications had outstanding commercial applications. Still, the properties that make Scotchgard and Teflon such useful goods are also what makes them so hazardous to human beings and the environment.

Dangers of PFAS 

PFAS do not degrade or break down and have been demonstrated to be exceedingly persistent in the environment and the human body. Because of their tremendous pervasiveness, PFAS are extremely harmful.

Environmental persistence 

Aside from the fact that PFAS do not disintegrate or biodegrade over time, they are also extremely persistent. PFAS may permeate water, soil, and even concrete to enter the water system. PFAS then builds over time in the environment and animal and human bodies. 

PFAS health concerns 

Since PFAS are persistent, they may pass through almost anything and accumulate in the human body. This raises health concerns, as preliminary research indicates that PFOA, PFAS, and PFOS exposure may be associated with the following health issues:

  • Reproductive and developmental effects
  • Liver and kidney effects
  • Low infant birth weights
  • Immunological effects
  • Thyroid hormone disruption
  • Cancer 

While many of the long-term impacts of PFAS are unclear, we know that these indefinite compounds harm individuals and the environment. As a result, the EPA and other American governmental bodies have begun to act. You should speak to an expert attorney to learn more about the legislation. 

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