PFASs, short for poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, have been manufactured in large quantities and used for various applications since the 1940s. PFASs repel oil and water, making them appealing for use in industrial applications and commercial and consumer products such as textile coatings, non-stick cookware, electronics and firefighting foams. These substances are quickly receiving more regulatory attention across the globe, as they persist indefinitely in the environment, are highly mobile in groundwater, and are being discovered in drinking water supplies.
Organizations around the world prioritize having adequate fire protection systems and emergency response capabilities. However, effective management of fire safety now must be balanced with environmental effects and liabilities resulting from a large group of man-made chemicals termed PFASs, which are present in many firefighting foams.
The wide and varied use of PFASs means there are many potential sources for large-scale release to the environment. Acceptable regulatory guidance concentrations for drinking water are very conservative and the threat of third-party litigation from communities affected by PFASs in their drinking water has created an increased need for environmental management services related to PFAS vulnerability, investigation and restoration.
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