California bans PFAS firefighting foams

October 6, 2020

Read the full article by Cheryl Hogue (C&EN)

"California is halting the sale, manufacture, and use of firefighting foam that contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as of 2022. Colorado, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington have enacted similar bans; California is the largest US market to do so.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Sept. 29 banning these foams in the state, with limited exceptions. The advocacy organization Environmental Working Group estimates that 7.5 million Californians have toxic nonpolymeric PFAS in their drinking water at a level of at least 1 part per trillion, with much of this contamination linked to the use of firefighting foam.

The new law also requires those selling firefighting gear to notify purchasers whether the protective equipment contains added PFAS. Fluorinated compounds in water-resistant textiles that firefighters wear break down over time and could expose these first responders to PFAS."