Sweden : Use of fire-fighting foam grows despite environmental risks

A firefighter in training with fire retardant foam. What effect does foam have on the environment? (iStock)
A firefighter in training with fire retardant foam. What effect does foam have on the environment? (iStock)
Swedish fire departments are increasingly use foam to extinguish blazes even though the chemical can be an environmental hazard.

Swedish Television reports that the use of fire fighting foam has doubled in the last 17 years – from roughly 26,000 liters in 1998 to more than 48,000 liters in 2014.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, which is responsible for issues concerning public safety and emergencies, said it is concerned about the growing use. The substance has been linked to groundwater contamination.

Bo Andersson, an expert on fires at the agency, wants to see the use of extinguishing foam reduced.

“With fires in residential homes and normal buildings, we think we shouldn’t use foam,” he says, “The foam has negative consequences: they increase the toxicity of the water and carrying it down into the ground.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Soot from Canadian wildfires may have increased Greenland ice melt, Radio Canada International

Finland: Smoke from Russian fires detected in Finland, Yle News

Russia: Smoke from Russian fires detected in Finland, Yle News

Sweden:  Swedish Biologists: “Turn forest fire area into nature reserve”, Radio Sweden

United States:  Wildfires prompt evacuation alerts in Alaska, Alaska Public Radio Network

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One thought on “Sweden : Use of fire-fighting foam grows despite environmental risks

  • Avatar
    Friday, July 3, 2015 at 11:12
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    I PETER ABEL MLELI, A TANZANIAN YOUNG MAN , WORKING AT AIRPORT IN TANZANIA, I HEREBY LIKE TO PARTICIPATE ON RESCUE COURSES. OPERATED BY YOUR INSTITUTE . I WILL BE VERY GLAD TO PARTICIPATE ON ANY RESCUE TRAINING COURSE, FIREFIGHTING, AND ANY. PLEASE INFORM ME HOW I CAN REGISTER. AND WHEN THE UPCOMING TRAINING COURSE BEGIN.
    WAITING TO HEARING FROM YOU SOON.

    Reply
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