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Press release on Climate | Energy

Fluorinated fire-fighting foams protect - not the environment though

Fire departments save lives, recover, extinguish, protect- sometimes the environment, too. Fires can be fought especially well with chemicals, propellants or plastics that contain fluorinated extinguishing foams, which prevent the formation of toxic combustion products. However, the chemicals contained in the foams are not, environmentally speaking, worry-free. “Fluorinated chemicals are very persistent and are spread across the globe via bodies of water. Some of the products in this substance group are disposed to accumulating in the body and exert toxic effect. We must therefore prevent their input to the environment, although it is evident that this may not be entirely avoidable in the fire-fighting scenario, as the protection of human lives is, of course, highest priority”, said Dr. Klaus Günter Steinhäuser, Head of the Chemical Safety Unit at the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). A new flyer offers fire brigades and operators of fire extinguishers systems practical advice on choice of suitable extinguishing agents and how best to dispose of polluted extinguisher water. read more

The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment