ALBANY, NY – Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan) released the following statement in response to the passage of his legislation to ban the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam (S439/A445) through the State Senate. The legislation is carried by Assemblymember Steck in the Assembly.
Senator Brad Hoylman said: “As we’ve seen in Newburgh, PFAS chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases are too dangerous to allow in firefighting foam because it easily seeps into lakes, rivers and groundwater, as well as endangers the health of our firefighters. I’m grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, my co-sponsor in the Assembly Assemblymember Phil Steck, and my Senate colleagues for moving my legislation to enact a statewide ban on PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam. Without this ban, PFAS chemicals will continue to pollute drinking water near airports, air bases and firehouses where foam is commonly used and stored.”
The legislation comes response to the water contamination crisis at Newburgh’s Stewart Air National Guard Base, where reoccurring use of fluorinated Class B firefighting foam containing Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contaminated the city’s water supply. PFAS are a highly-toxic class of carcinogens that have been linked to serious health effects including thyroid disease, hormonal changes, weakened immune systems, increased cholesterol and growth and learning delays in children.
Hoylman and Steck’s bill, based on current law in the state of Washington, would prohibit the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals for training purposes, ban the manufacture and sale of such foam two years after the bill takes effect, and restrict the use of PFAS in firefighting equipment.