Two weeks after the Madison Fire Department announced it would switch to PFAS-free firefighting foam, Verona fire chief Dan Machotka said his department did not plan to make similar changes.
PFAS stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a family of man-made chemicals that can have adverse health effects in humans, including cancer and thyroid hormone interruption, according to the EPA.
The chemicals can be found in many consumer products and in the foam used by fire departments to fight fires by suppressing combustion.
“The current foam that we use has levels below current EPA regulations,” Machotka told the Press.
Testing in 2019 by the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources found PFAS chemicals in several bodies of water, including Lake Monona. One major source of the PFAS contamination was thought to be firefighting foam used in training exercises near the Dane County Regional Airport, according to reporting by the Wisconsin State Journal.
Effective Dec. 13, the Madison Fire Department switched to National Foam brand’s Knockdown Class A Foam Concentrate, according to a press release from the department.
The release said the product was chosen by the department from among foams being marketed as PFAS free for its low levels of tested toxicity and ability to perform effectively in a wide range of temperatures, which the department said is “especially important during Wisconsin’s frigid winter months.”
Machotka said the Verona Fire Department uses firefighting foam “a few times a year.”
“We are also closely watching the PFAS technical Advisory Group for recommendations moving forward,” he said, referring to to the working group within the DNR formed to discuss and share technical data on the impact of PFAS chemicals in Wisconsin.