Harwich Fire replaces legacy foam with environmentally friendly foam

Harwich Fire/CWN

HARWICH – From Harwich Fire: It has been recognized that PFAS (Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) can contribute to adverse health effects. These compounds are found in many different products, including waterproofing materials, Teflon pans and fire department foam.

From the EPA website: “There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans. If humans, or animals, ingest PFAS (by eating or drinking food or water that contains PFAS), the PFAS are absorbed and can accumulate in the body. PFAS can stay in the human body for long periods. As a result, as people are exposed to PFAS from different sources over time, the level of PFAS in their bodies may increase to the point where they suffer from adverse health effects.

Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals have caused tumors in animal studies. The most consistent findings from human epidemiology studies are increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, with more limited findings related to: infant birth weights, effects on the immune system, cancer (for PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS).”

Fire Department foam use occurs in two different manners. 1) Class A foam, used for house fires and brush fires. 2) Class B foam, used for fuel spills and related fires. Class A foam typically does not create any concern for contamination. Class B foam is typically made with fluorine, this is where the PFOA and PFAS contamination is generated.

The department has purchased a new Class B foam product that can also be used on Class A Fires. This product not only simplifies our operations but streamlines resupply and replacement and ensures that all foam we use is environmentally friendly. Muni-Green is certified that no chemical substitutes have been used in the formula and is 100% Biodegradable.

Finally, working with the Department of Environmental Protection, we have removed all Class B legacy foam from service. Some of this will be picked up by a DEP contractor and disposed of at no charge. The remaining Class B foam and all of our Class A foam will be disposed of through the same contractor for cost.

737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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