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NC Legislature Considering PFAS Ban In Firefighting Foam

National Park Service
Firefighting foam is believed to cause adverse health effects.

A bill filed this week in the North Carolina legislature could impact the water quality of the Cape Fear River. House Bill 560 would ban PFAS and other perfluorinated compounds from the firefighting foams used near airports and in industrial areas around the state. It has co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle. 

Firefighting foam is used on military bases and airports around the U.S.

But the Environmental Protection Agency says exposure to the chemicals in this foam lead to adverse human health effects.

Democratic Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro sponsored the bill. Some 30 legislators have signed on, including House Democratic Whip Deb Butler of Brunswick and New Hanover Counties.

“Well, for a lot of reasons, we have to start limiting our exposure to dangerous chemicals. It's not safe, the evidence is alarming enough to make me want to see it phased out. They are using other alternatives in Europe, for example, successfulyl. And there's no reason that we can't require that here in North Carolina as well.”

Environmentalists say the foam seeps into water supplies. That’s the case with the airport in Greensboro. Foam gets into the storm water, which goes into the Deep River, and then the Cape Fear. After reading in the bill, legislators sent it to the Committee on the Environment.