The Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) approved a state grant on March 27 that will go toward the purchase of firefighting foam testing tools to prevent per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from contaminating the ground at 18 primary airports. At a total cost $400,000 for 18 units, the new “cart” would allow aircraft rescue firefighting (ARFF) crews to complete mandatory testing of their foam firefighting equipment without discharging a single drop of the substance on the ground. “We are the first state to do this,” Bryan Budds of the Office of Aeronautics told the MAC. “We are leading other states in this new innovation.”
PFAS are a large group of man-made chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFAS have been used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting, and thousands of common household and other consumer products. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body, meaning they do not break down and they can accumulate over time. In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health.