ILTA Environment, Health, Safety, and Security Committee Meetings Held in Boston
ILTA was excited to hold our EHSS committee meetings in person on September 20-21 at the Omni Parker House in Boston.
Beginning Day 1 as a full committee, participants heard a presentation from Patrick Morrison, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), on the long-term health effects of PFAS exposure to firefighters across the country. The update included a summary of the IAFF report on health impacts for different genders of firefighters and other differentiators in studying PFAS exposure on human health. The IAFF report and research concluded that exposure to PFAS in the environment has increased risk of several cancers and other serious diseases. Firefighters are at especially high risk due to workplace exposure to PFAS both through the use of foams and through contact with PFAS-tested protective gear. The IAFF has taken a strong stance in favor of phasing out the use of PFAS-based firefighting foams for all uses, including municipal, industrial, and defense uses.
Next, company representatives, David Plant, Olivier Houlbert, Craig McDonnell, and Eleanor Lister provided a detailed discussion of some of the currently available fluorine-free foams. The panel allowed the EHSS attendees to hear directly from foam manufacturers about their foam product offerings, their use in overseas markets, and the results of tests or real-world events that have demonstrated the effectiveness of the foams. ILTA members posed questions about effectiveness of the new foam products, application methods, and how to determine which new products were most suitable for liquid terminals.
Next, attendees heard from Lee Hall, National Foam and TRC Companies’ Elizabeth Denly, on the application methodology for fluorine free foams. Lee and Elizabeth spoke with ILTA members about the challenges of applying new foams because they often require higher application rates and higher concentrations than PFAS based foams, imposing new logistical requirements.
Then the committee heard about environmental remediation issues from Elizabeth Denly, TRC Companies, Kent Sorrenson, Allonia, and Eric Kovich, Geosyntec. The panel and ILTA members discussed that PFAS remediation presents challenges that are not present with most other pollutants. The panel highlighted the risk of cross-contamination from the movement of PFAS materials, contamination of equipment used on site, and the panel talked about methodologies for decontamination of water, soil, and equipment that might have PFAS contamination. The panel also highlighted the challenges and limits of detection techniques.
The EHSS Committee received an update on Federal and State legislative and regulatory issues. Caitlin Clark presented the update with AJW and Michael Stroud with ILTA. The updates included a discussion of recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed rulemaking to list PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or “Superfund”). The update also included a discussion of ILTA’s advocacy efforts to amend the CERCLA statute to provide a pathway for ILTA member facilities with PFOA and PFOS contamination to be eligible for the EPA Brownfield’s program.