Sometimes fighting a fire takes more than water.
Firefighters across New Jersey — particularly those working on military bases and at airports — use a special type of foam which smothers fires that water would be otherwise ineffective against. The foam is called aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF).
Not all AFFF products are the same, but for decades many of them were made with toxic chemicals known as PFOS and PFOA (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid) that today are being found in drinking water systems across the Garden State. Exposure to the chemicals can have a wide range of effects, including an increased risk of developing cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Now, New Jersey wants the companies that made and sold the toxic foam to pay up.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal joined New Jersey Department of Environmental Commissioner Catherine McCabe and Acting New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Director Paul Rodriguez on Tuesday in announcing a new lawsuit against companies that made and sold the firefighting foam for decades.