Technology is underway by a scientific nonprofit agency aims to make firefighting foam (AFFF) safe.
For decades, firefighters have been exposed to levels of carcinogens at rates a thousand times higher than EPA guidelines, CBS Evening News reported.
Now, it appears, help is on the way as Battelle, a nonprofit, has developed technology to eliminate the problem, Amy Didal, PFAS program manager, told reporters.
Battelle researchers are treating a North Carolina fire company’s foam stockpile, some that Waxhaw Fire Chief Gregory Sharpe says may be 20 years old.
In its first commercial application, Battelle’s technology uses a process called supercritical water oxidation, which involves heat, pressure and an oxidant to remove the threat in the PFAS carbon-fluorine bond.
“Ten seconds through our reactor, it will break the CF bond,” Dindal told CBS.
Waxhaw’s crews are also testing “clean” firefighting foam, made of organics. GreenFire, the manufacturer, says it’s non-toxic and PFAS-free. The company has been collecting AFFF foam from fire departments across North Carolina in an effort destroy the PFAS in their stockpile with the new technology.
“I don’t want to get cancer and I don’t want my folks to get cancer,” Sharpe told CBS.