How Safe Is Firefighting Foam?

How Safe Is Firefighting Foam

Abyssal film-forming foam, sometimes referred to as firefighting extinguishing foam, is used to put out fires by dousing them in water. Although it is quite efficient, it also contains hazardous substances.

Many firemen have expressed concerns about their health after being exposed to AFFF, and these components have been connected to cancer and other diseases.

What Is AFFF?

AFFF is a fluorocarbon-based , firefighting foam that is used to put out fires in military bases, airports, as well as industrial plants. It is typically used for training in firefighting and to put out fires in aircrafts.

The ingredients in AFFF are deemed safe for human consumption by the EPA as well as other regulatory agencies, when utilized in accordance with the guidelines.

Use Of AFFF And AFFF Foam

In ships, aircraft, and firefighting, AFFF is employed. In both military and non-military settings, it is used to put out flames. Both on land and at sea, this foam is useful. Water and additional chemical components, such ethylene and propylene glycol, are included in AFFF to increase the foam’s shelf life. Fire fighting foam is offered for sale as a concentration that must be diluted with water. It comes in two different water content ranges, three percent and six percent.

Aqueous film-forming foam, usually known as AFFF or just “fire-fighting foam,” is a fluorocarbon-based synthetic liquid. The water and detergent chemicals in AFFF can be sprayed over any combustible item to swiftly put it out without harming neighbouring materials or structures or endangering anyone who come into touch with it. able to ignite

Certain sources suggest that AFFF is among the most effective strategies for combating fires from fuels since its unique chemical composition can to prevent the re-ignition of fire following use. Indeed, many experts believe this type of material is a better substitute for carbon dioxide extinguishers as it has proven that it is more efficient in stopping post-ignition fires than CO2.

There are a number of benefits to the use of AFFF over other CO2 extinguishers. There are some who are concerned about dangers to health that can be posed by exposure over time, principally since these kinds aren’t laden with harmful chemicals like chlorine dioxide which could cause long-term health effects.

AFFF And Toxic Ingredients Of Concern

PFOA, an endocrine disruptor and potential carcinogen found in several regularly used AFFF products in the US, has been linked to reproductive and developmental issues. In addition to these effects on health, PFOA has also been related to thyroid illness, ulcerative colitis, and excessive cholesterol. By work and location, human exposure to PFAS varies in intensity. Our soil, air, and water have all been contaminated by these synthetic materials. People are typically exposed to PFAS through inhaling contaminated air, using PFAS-containing goods, or consuming contaminated food or water. The evaluation of human exposure is underway.

97% of Americans had PFAS in their blood, according to a research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The EPA has set a threshold at 70 parts/ trillion of perfluorooctanoic acids present in water that is used for drinking. This limit is based on exposure of humans to PFOA via food items and food items. EPA has not assessed how much exposure individuals get from drinking water when AFFF can be found in military bases or airports close to waterways that flow into large bodies of water, like lakes, streams and rivers. I live in a region in the area where swimming is common during summer as temperatures rise. Above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius).

The Firefighter Foam Cancer Lawsuit

Chemicals included in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), sometimes known as “firefighting foam,” have been linked to a number of cancers. If you were a firefighter or frequently exposed to AFFF and were recently diagnosed with kidney, pancreas, prostate, or testicular cancer, you may be qualified to bring an AFFF case and get monetary compensation.

All federal lawsuits must now be brought in the United States Federal Court for the District of South Carolina, according to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL). Approximately 2,500 AFFF claimants were still involved in the case as of September 2022.

As a result, one judge will oversee all lawsuits alleging AFFF firefighting foam cancer that are brought in federal court. This is intended to be the first step towards a global firefighting foam accord.

Health Problems Associated With Exposure To AFFF

It is crucial to be aware of the symptoms of being exposed to AFFF. Eye irritation, skin irritation as well as burning are typical signs of exposure for a short period. They can be caused by the degrading of perfluorooctanoic acids (PFOA) which is present within AFFF foam. A study recently that was published in the medical journal highlights the severity of harm this substance can do. According to the study’s authors, women who were exposed to PFAS were at risk of an average of 42%-47 percent higher chance of having elevated blood pressure.

The study adds to the body of research showing a connection between PFAS chemicals and a higher risk of heart disease. High body PFAS concentrations were associated with a 71 percent increased risk of high blood pressure in the research participants. A further 470 of the 1,058 study participants had a high blood pressure diagnosis between 1999 and 2017.

Long-term exposure has also been connected to asthma and other respiratory conditions like fluid in the lungs.

It’s critical to acknowledge the progress made in making firefighting foam safer given the attention being paid to firefighter safety.

The numerous ways that firefighters are exposed to flame retardants or other harmful compounds during their careers are not limited to the firefighting foam. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that many of the commercial compounds we use in our homes and workplaces today may provide risks similar to those associated with those experienced by firemen.

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