Somerville, MA—As global concerns grow around the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—known as the ‘forever chemicals’ because they can persist for thousands of years in the environment—Clean Production Action today released GreenScreen Certified™ Firefighting Foam, the first ecolabel for PFAS-free* firefighting foam products.
“Until today no certification existed for PFAS-free firefighting foam products, or that evaluated all chemicals used in these products for their human and environmental health hazards,” highlighted Dr. Mark S. Rossi, Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Clean Production Action.
For decades, chemical manufacturers have manufactured PFAS-containing aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) and firefighters have unknowingly been exposed to them during use in petroleum-based fires, training, and testing of equipment. PFAS use in firefighting foam has contaminated drinking water for millions of people across the planet.
Today nearly every US resident and place in the world is contaminated with PFAS chemicals. Exposure to PFAS is associated with cancer, developmental toxicity, immune suppression, high cholesterol, and other health effects, with firefighters at particular risk from their increased and ongoing exposure to PFAS through their work. The number one cause of line-of-duty death for firefighters is cancer. Increased regulation and liability of using PFAS-containing foams, along with increasing environmental and health concerns across the globe, have created demand for PFAS-free firefighting foams.
“GreenScreen Certified makes it simpler for purchasers to identify safer firefighting foams by certifying that they meet rigorous environmental and health criteria,” explained Jen Jackson with the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “As more PFAS-free firefighting foams become available we need to ensure these alternative products are not equally hazardous to firefighting personnel or the environment.”
“The release of the GreenScreen Certified™ Firefighting Foam standard comes at a critical time when more and more state governments in the US and Congress are banning toxic PFAS firefighting foams,” stated Laurie Valeriano, Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Toxic-Free Future. “After Washington State banned PFAS foams, Colorado, New Hampshire, New York and even Congress followed. It is important for companies to certify the foams they make so that firefighters can be assured they aren’t being unnecessarily exposed to other cancer-causing or other harmful chemicals that are replacing PFAS.”
The first four companies with certified products are Angus Fire Ltd, BIOEX, National Foam Inc., and Verde Environmental, Inc. See the list of GreenScreen Certified firefighting foam products and download the certification criteria at https://www.greenscreenchemicals.org/certified. Register for the February 25, 2020 webinar at https://www.greenscreenchemicals.org/resources/entry/webinar-gsc-fff.
*PFAS-free is defined as less than 1 part per million (ppm) total organic fluorine as measured by combustion ion chromatography.
About Clean Production Action
Clean Production Action is an independent, non-profit based in the United States. Our mission is to design and deliver strategic solutions for green chemicals, sustainable materials, and environmentally preferable products. Our core programs are: GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals, BizNGO, the Chemical Footprint Project, and the Investor Environmental Health Network.
About GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals and GreenScreen Certified™ GreenScreen is a globally recognized tool designed to assess and benchmark chemicals based on hazard. Companies and governments use GreenScreen benchmark scores to identify chemicals of concern to human health and the environment, select safer alternatives, and to track and communicate their progress. GreenScreen criteria and guidance are fully transparent and available for anyone to use.