Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFFs) Are Very Toxic to Aquatic Microcrustaceans

By Silvana Carmo da Silva, Fabio Hermes Pusceddu, Andressa dos Santos Barbosa Ortega, Denis Moledo de Souza Abessa, Camilo Dias Seabra Pereira, and Luciane Alves Maranho
Water, Air, & Soil Pollution
November 18, 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2011.04.012

The use of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) have been related to environmental contamination due to handling, storage, and use in the firefighting against class B fire. Studies have associated the use of AFFFs with toxic effects from its perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) to the aquatic ecosystem, which led the Stockholm Convention to restrict their use. In Brazil, despite the large-scale use, there is no data on employment or annual commercialization of these products. This study evaluated the toxicity of seven brands of AFFFs used in the firefighting of the petrochemical’s terminal of fuel storage in Port of Santos (Santos, São Paulo, Brazil) which occurred in 2015, in which more than 61,000 L of AFFFs drained into the adjacent aquatic ecosystems. The toxicity evaluation was performed by means of the acute bioassay using the freshwater microcrustacean Daphnia similis. The AFFF brands tested were considered toxic to D. similis, including at much lower dilutions than those recommended by the manufacturers. The brand that showed the lowest toxicity was Kidde Sintex® 3% × 6%, followed by Kidde Sintex® 1% × 3%, Argus Prime®, Cold Fire®, Ageofoam®, and Liovac®, and the one with the highest toxicity was F-500 fire®. These results provide valuable information for the development of public policies aimed at managing the AFFF discharge in freshwater ecosystems.

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