EPA Issues Testing Order for Substance Found in Fire Fighting Foam

EPA Issues Testing Order for Substance Found in Fire Fighting Foam

More than 500 workers are potentially exposed to this substance every year, EPA says.

The EPA has issued a test order for a substance found in certain firefighting foam.

According to a press release, the test order is for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, specifically 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonamide betaine. This substance is a “surfactant used to make commercial fire-fighting foams and may be found in certain floor finishes,” said the press release. It’s estimated that over 500 workers may be exposed over one year.

The full effects of exposure on human health are not fully known, according to the press release.

“Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a large group of manufactured compounds widely used to make everyday products more resistant to stains, grease, and water,” according to the National Toxicology Program. They can be used in industries like construction and building.

“For far too long, families across America, especially those in underserved communities, have suffered from PFAS. High-quality, robust data on PFAS helps EPA to better understand and ultimately reduce the potential risks caused by these chemicals,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in the press release.“Our communities deserve transparency from the companies that use or produce these substances about their potential environmental and human health impacts.”

Four companies have been selected to test this substance. They have 400 days to submit the first-tier testing results, and with the data, the EPA will determine if more tests are needed.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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