The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has advised airports in the United States to refrain from using firefighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) due to the potential risk for the environment and human health.
In the Cert-Alert issued on October 4, 2021, the US aviation authority advised airport operators to restrict the usage of firefighting foam containing PFAS, due to safety concerns over its potential impact on health. The chemical is associated with symptoms such as liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, hormone suppression, and cancer.
The FAA informed that it has already performed more than 400 research tests, during which the authority examined 15 commercially available fluorine-free firefighting foam products as a possible replacement for the currently in-use firefighting foam. The authority outlined that it still evaluates alternative solutions, which could be used to extinguish various kinds of fires in airports, including burning aircraft fuel.
“FAA continues to partner with the Department of Defense (DoD) in efforts to find a firefighting foam that ensures the protection of the flying public with no impact on human health or the environment. […] FAA is currently focusing on new innovative foam formulations provided under research agreements with foam manufacturers/developers,” the authority explained in the statement.