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