A recent study reveals that millions of American citizens are being exposed to lethal drinking water contaminated by firefighting foam.
According to a report by UC Berkeley and Harvard University, toxic chemicals in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) has been found in public drinking water in various states around America. These fluorinated chemicals are linked to cancer, high cholesterol, obesity, and a whole range of serious illnesses.
Firefighters are not always using water to attack stubborn or dangerous fires. Often, they use specially formulated foams that, along with being wet, can take away the oxygen content in a fire. However, the study published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters outlines environmental contamination across the country with these potentially hazardous materials.
Study co-author Dr. Arlene Blum, founding director of the Green Science Policy Institute, said the major sources of contamination are near military bases and airports where firefighter training occurs, industrial sites where the chemicals are made and wastewater treatment plants.
Blum told AccuWeather foams are good at extinguishing aviation fires and other flammable liquid fires but may be overused in firefighting practice activities.
“During the practice drills, large volumes of these toxic chemicals are washed into lakes, rivers, streams and they end up in ground water and in drinking water,” Blum said. “We think that chemicals that are this persistent and potentially toxic should only be used when they are essential, not just for training.”
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