Department of Defense Explores Options to Phase-Out PFAS Use
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Kathryn Clay
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Department of Defense Explores Options to Phase-Out PFAS Use

The Defense Department’s (DOD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) held its annual conference a Nov. 29-Dec. 2 annual conference including sessions on the development and use of PFAS-free firefighting foam. The program included panel discussions on DOD efforts to phase out the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) containing PFAS by fiscal year 2025, as required by the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

According to the conference program, the presentation provided details on the mechanism of PFAS-free alternatives for firefighting, including research on recently developed novel surfactants at the laboratory scale. Those PFAS-free substitutes could also help DOD against longstanding complaints by state environmental regulators and communities near military bases about PFAS drinking water contamination from decades of AFFF use. Those complaints include landmark litigation being overseen by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina in which chemical industry defendants have accused DOD of continuing to use PFAS-containing AFFF even after it knew about potential health risks.

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