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Commercial airports could soon be able to use PFAS-free firefighting foam

Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids
Photo courtesy of the Gerald R Ford International Airport
Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids is one of the commercial airports that is currently required to use firefighting foam that contains PFAS

Congress has passed legislation to allow airports to stop using foam containing PFAS chemicals.

Under current law, commercial airports must use firefighting foam that contains toxic chemicals known as PFAS. However, Congress wants that to change.

PFAS chemicals are a large source of drinking water contamination all over Michigan. There are at least 35 confirmed sites of contamination across the state.

These chemicals have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer and high cholesterol.

Melanie Benesh, a legislative attorney with the Environmental Working Group, says Senator Gary Peters was leading the charge to get this bill passed.

“We’re just really happy to see congress come together in this bipartisan way to address a real public health issue,” Benesh said.

Benesh says some airports in other countries are already using PFAS-free foam.

“They have found them to be safe and effective in putting out fires quickly and making sure that airports are also safe,”

The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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