PFAS firefighting foams still held at fire departments across the state

Sep 21, 2018

PFAS firefighting foams are still housed at fire stations across the state, according to the state fire marshal. PFAS are a family of chemical compounds that have been found at multiple sites across the state and have been linked to health problems including cancer.

Kevin Sehlmeyer is the State Fire Marshal. He said his office surveyed one thousand fire stations across the state to determine how many still have firefighting foams with PFAS in them.

“Six hundred twenty-eight fire departments have responded and 280 of the 626 fire departments have class B foam," he says.

Sehlmeyer said the foams, called class B, are still the best way to fight chemical fires.

“And it’s only used if you encounter those type of fires," he says. "It’s not being used on a daily basis across the state of Michigan.”

Sehlmeyer said researchers are looking for alternatives to the Class B foams, but in the meantime it will still be used. He said when fire departments use the foam to put out fires they have to alert the Department of Environmental Quality.