Navy to investigate fire suppression foam contamination

When an airplane is coming in for a belly landing or has an engine on fire, the only way to prevent the entire plane from becoming engulfed in flames is by dousing the runway or the plane with fire suppression foam.  Navy firefighters were trained in the use of fire suppression foam near the airplane runways at Alameda Point.

Over the past two decades, there has been one bad news story after another about the foam’s toxic ingredients contaminating drinking water.  These same toxic ingredients are also found in common consumer products.  The Centers for Disease Control estimates that as many as 95 percent of the population have traces of these cancer-causing, endocrine-system-disrupting chemicals in their body. 

That’s partly because consumer products with the same chemical compounds, such as water repellant outdoor wear, carpets, food packaging, and even cosmetics, are still on the market.  Some household brand names that pioneered the marketing of products with the harmful chemicals, like Scotchgard and Teflon, have been reformulated and claim to be safe.  Environmental advocacy groups like Earthjustice are not convinced.

As the science about the human health effects has become more compelling and public awareness so great, the military is now embarking on a cleanup program at active and former military bases, including Alameda Point.

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