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Fire-fighting foam investigation

MEDIA RELEASE

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2018

Fire-fighting foam investigation

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is not aware of any evidence that fire-fighting foams manufactured using PFOS or PFOA continue to be discharged into the environment, as recently reported by news outlets.

“We want to allay public concerns around such reports, because we have not found any evidence that this is the case,” says Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, the EPA’s general manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms.

“Our initial focus was on airports around New Zealand, where such foams may have been used historically for firefighting training and responding to emergencies. However, as part of our ongoing investigation, with are talking with managers at a range of installations, including oil facilities.

“There are only a very small number of places within New Zealand where these foams can be found and we are working with them to check that their storage arrangements ensure environmental safety. Provided the foams are appropriately stored, they pose no immediate risk to people or the environment.”

“Our aim is to ensure facilities with these foams comply with the regulations, and the firms involved are being highly co-operative,” Dr Thomson-Carter says.

The EPA is also checking that adequate measures are being taken regarding safe disposal of non-compliant foams, by ensuring they are properly exported from New Zealand for safe destruction.

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