Minnesota Worries Fighting Flames Poisons Water

Tests begin next month to determine whether a foam firefighters use to extinguish flames has contaminated groundwater in Minnesota and possibly nationwide. Originally made by 3M, perfluorochemicals that coat fires to prevent explosions and expansions are cropping up at alarmingly high levels in the groundwater of at least 15 towns. The chemical group is most commonly used during trainings, trainings held on public land often near municipal wells.

3M stopped making the toxic components in 2002, but many fire departments may have stockpiled the substances, which means they are likely still in use. Although the Minnesota Department of Health has encourage its citizens to continue drinking the water, Doug Wetzstein, supervisor in the superfund section at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, believes that the pollution “could have national significance.”

Read more here.

Source: Star Tribune

Image courtesy of the National Park Service

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