COLUMBUS – House Bill 158, legislation sponsored by State Representatives Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester) was signed by the governor Monday. The bill will revise current Ohio law to increase safety for Ohio firefighter training by eliminating the use of the harmful chemical PFAS during training.
PFAS is a combination of certain chemical compounds that is added to Class B firefighting foam. The compound can greatly assist in the extinguishing of fires, especially those ignited by liquid fuels. However, the continuous exposure to PFAS chemicals can be harmful to a person’s health.
“As a former sheriff, I understand the importance of training for emergency situation,” said Plummer. “I also understand that the health and safety of our first responders is vitally important. Banning the use of PFAS foam in a training setting is a straight-forward approach to prioritizing their health.”
House Bill 158 will prohibit the use of foam that contains PFAS for training purposes unless required by law, regulation or ordinance. If these exceptions are met, the testing facility must implement appropriate containment, treatment and disposal measures to prevent the release of the foam into the environment.
“As a former active duty fire medic myself, I understand the importance of learning about different firefighting foams during training,” said Baldridge. “However, the health risks involved in the continued usage of PFAS are simply not worth it. While this bill would prohibit the use of this harmful chemical during firefighter training, there are certain exemptions listed in the bill to ensure safety to all should PFAS need to be used in the midst of an emergency situation.”
The legislation clarifies that Class B foam may still be used for emergency firefighting or fire prevention operations. Further, the bill does not restrict the manufacture, sale or distribution of Class B foam.
House Bill 158 will go into effect in 90 days.