EPA announces PFAS environmental action plan

PFAS
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced EPA’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan. It responds to extensive public interest and input the agency has received over the past year and represents the first time EPA has built a multi-media, multi-program, national communication and research plan to address an emerging environmental challenge like PFAS. Concern about PFAS is central to the continuing controversy over the use of fluorinated chemicals in firefighting foam. EPA’s Action Plan identifies both short-term solutions for addressing these chemicals and long-term strategies that will help provide the tools and technologies states, tribes, and local communities need to provide clean and safe drinking water to their residents and to address PFAS at the source—even before it gets into the water. “The PFAS Action Plan is the most comprehensive cross-agency plan to address an emerging chemical of concern ever undertaken by EPA,” said EPA Acting...
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Meet the Formulator: Fluorine foams remain indispensable to industrial firefighting, expert says

Hubert Mitch Hubert
Opponents of firefighting foam containing fluorinated chemicals fail to fairly weigh the overwhelming benefits of these products against evidence that exposure can ultimately lead to adverse health effects in humans, said Mitch Hubert, a leading chemist or “formulator” working in this specialized market. Speaking to an international audience of industrial fire responders in October, Hubert said that fluorinated foams are under attack from an environmental standpoint on a worldwide basis.  “That has really led us to a crossroads in the firefighting foam industry,” he said. “Do we stay with fluorinated foams or go to non-fluorinated foams? There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides of that argument.” Chief among the disadvantages for industrial firefighters is the lack of a substantial track record of success using non-fluorinated foam, Hubert said. “Fluorine free foams have not proven to be as effective in large catastrophic fire,” he said. “This is much of what the...
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