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WA Law Banning PFAS: Online Q&A Thursday June 28, 11am

AFFF Letter - Firefighting Foam Law in Washington State - Department of Ecology

June 15, 2018

To All Parties Affected by this Legislation:

RE: New Law on Class B Firefighting Foam & Firefighting Personal Protective Equipment

A 2018 Washington State law impacts the use of a class of chemicals called PFAS (per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances) in firefighting foam and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Washington State Department of Ecology will host an online question and answer session on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 11 a.m. PST. Visit our website to register for the session and to find more information: Ecology.wa.gov/ToxicsInFirefighting.

 

What does the new law include?

Firefighting foam training ban

Beginning July 1, 2018, use of PFAS-containing Class B firefighting foam for training is prohibited across Washington State. There are no exceptions in the law for training.

Firefighting foam sales ban

Beginning July 1, 2020, the manufacture, sale, and distribution of PFAS-containing Class B firefighting foam will be prohibited. There are four exemptions to this prohibition: military, federal aviation administration certified airports, petroleum refineries and terminals, and certain chemical plants.

Firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE) notice

Beginning July 1, 2018, manufacturers and sellers of PFAS-containing firefighting PPE must notify purchasers in writing that the equipment contains PFAS chemicals and the reasons for using the chemicals. The manufacturer, seller, and purchaser must keep the notice on file for at least three years, and provide it to Ecology if requested.

Should you dispose of PFAS-containing foam?

This law does not require disposal of unused PFAS-containing foam, and does not restrict its use in emergencies involving flammable liquid fires. PFAS-containing foam is a state-only dangerous waste. If you choose to dispose of this foam, you must do so under the Dangerous Waste Regulations, Chapter 173-303 WAC. Visit our website to learn more about dangerous waste requirements.

Why are we concerned about PFAS?

Everyone is exposed to PFAS, and some forms have known toxic effects. In recent years, PFAS contamination above EPA’s health advisory level has been found in drinking water wells in Airway Heights, North Whidbey Island, Issaquah, and at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

PFAS are water soluble and highly mobile, meaning they can easily contaminate groundwater and can be hard to filter out. Many PFAS transform into highly persistent perfluorinated chemicals in the environment. There are no natural processes that can break these substances down.

Exposures could continue for hundreds or thousands of years.

Definitions:

  • Class B firefighting foam means foams designed for flammable liquid fires.
  • Per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances or PFAS, for the purposes of firefighting agents and firefighting equipment, means a class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.
  • Firefighting PPE means any clothing designed, intended, or marketed to be worn by firefighting personnel in the performance of their duties, designed with the intent for the use in fire and rescue activities, including jackets, pants, shoes, gloves, helmets, and respiratory equipment.

For more information, please visit our website to get answers to frequently asked questions: Ecology.wa.gov/ToxicsInFirefighting. If you have questions about this law, please contact Anne Knapp at 360-407-7601 or Anne.Knapp@ecy.wa.gov.

 

Sincerely,

Signature of Darin Rice

Darin Rice, Manager
Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction Program
cc: Anne Knapp, HWTR Chemical Action Plan Coordinator
Ken Zarker, HWTR Section Manager

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