Firefighting Foam Contaminates Alaska Groundwater

Fairbanks International Airport and surrounding areas are taking steps to clean-up

Fairbanks firefighting foam leads to groundwater contamination

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) toxins were found in 26 wells near Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska, above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended health advisory. The toxins are linked to chemical firefighting foam sprayed from airplanes to extinguish larger fires. Additionally, Fairbanks firefighters used a training pit near the airport to practice emergency responses.

PFAS is considered an emerging contaminant due to limited knowledge of health effects, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that the chemicals could stunt growth and impact natural hormone regulation. The City of Fairbanks is currently providing clean water to residents with wells that have tested above the EPA recommended threshold for PFOS is 70 parts per trillion.

 

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