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Wisconsin DNR launches program to dispose of PFAS-containing firefighting foam


A new program from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will help local fire departments collect and dispose of PFAS-containing firefighting foam.

The million-dollar program is expected to remove of at least 25 thousand gallons of foam waste from Wisconsin fire departments.

Eric Lang, deputy chief of the South Area Fire and Emergency Response District based out of Wausau, says firefighting foam is used in emergency situations, to put out liquid fuel fires.

"We do cover quite a bit of highway, and that's where our highest potential would be, with semis going over the road with different fuels on board,” he explains.

But despite its lifesaving use, the foam can have devastating consequences on both humans and the environment because PFAS “forever chemicals” inside some foams never go away.

"We know that PFAS-containing foam gets into the groundwater and leeches into water systems and creates havoc on our human genome," says DNR Secretary Preston Cole.

The cancer-causing forever chemicals aren’t present in all firefighting foam, but are in many, and first responders are exposed every time they’re used.

Fire departments from 60 counties in Wisconsin have identified unwanted firefighting foam for disposal through the program and many have already made the switch to PFAS free foam alternatives.

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