California to phase out toxic firefighting foam linked to cancer, contaminated drinking water

SACRAMENTO (KABC) -- A toxic firefighting foam that has been linked to cancer and contaminated drinking water throughout California could soon be banned in the state.

State lawmakers on Sunday voted to phase out the sale and use of the foam to local fire departments, chemical plants and oil refineries, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The measure, introduced by state Sen. Ben Allen of Santa Monica, would require those agencies and businesses to find alternatives to the foam that don't contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS.

Municipal fire departments would be banned from using the foam that contains PFAS by January 2022, chemical plans and airport hangars would have until 2024 and oil refineries would be required to stop its use by 2028.

These chemicals, as reported by the Times, have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease and other serious health problems.

PFAS chemicals end up in groundwater after the foam is sprayed on a fire and soaks into the soil.

The new legislation is now heading to Gov. Newsom's desk for final approval.

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