The Plainville-Southington health district announced that the firefighting foam from a recent fire in Southington poses no public health concern at this time, and no action needs to be taken.
The report follows an incident on Monday, Dec. 9 when the Southington Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at Smith Medical at 201 West Queen Street. According to a press release from Shane Lockwood, director of health at the Plainville-Southington health district, the fire suppression system released a minimal amount of water and firefighting foam. Most of it was contained on site, though some ended up in two catch basins on West Queen Street.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that are used in a variety of industries around the globe since the 1940s, including firefighting foam. PFASs don’t break down, and they can accumulate over time. According to the EPA, there is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.
These foams have come under scrutiny in recent years, including a number of fires at Bradley International Airport where PFASs from foam have polluted sections of the Farmington River.
“The Town of Southington is grateful for the support we received from our neighboring communities and the State of Connecticut during this event,” Lockwood said in the release. “Mutual aid was provided by fire departments from Bristol, Cheshire and Plainville and the cleanup was coordinated by the Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection. We are also very appreciative of the efforts of Smith Medical employees for their cooperation.”