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Cleaning up our act: Santa Barbara congressman co-authors bills to reduce pollution from airports

Engin Akyurt

Legislation would help transition airports from toxic chemicals commonly used for the specialized needs of firefighting involving aviation fuel.

A Santa Barbara congressman has co-authored two pieces of bipartisan legislation intended to reduce pollution stemming from airports.

The bills are intended to block the use of certain foams used by fire departments to battle fires involving aircraft, and aviation fuel. Some commonly used foams contain synthetic PFAS chemicals.

The foams are extremely effective in stopping flammable liquid fires. But, it’s been discovered that the PFAS exposure can create a higher risk of cancer, and other serious illnesses. And, the chemicals don’t naturally degrade, so they can contaminate nearby groundwater.

The legislation from Democratic Congressman Salud Carbajal would provide money for airport fire department to switch to safer foams. It would also require the Federal Aviation Administration to monitor, and provide public updates on efforts to phase out use of the toxic foam.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.