What is AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam)?

Aqueous film-forming foam, while very effective in extinguishing class B fires, contains a group of dangerous chemicals that are known as PFAS.

As a group of artificial chemicals, PFAS were initially manufactured for the Manhattan Project

AFFF in use

Fluorine gas, the most reactive and the most electronegative of all the elements was used to separate uranium for the manufacturing of nuclear bombs.

Minnesota is Ground Zero for the contamination with PFAS which is occurring in the entire country. The chemicals are in the blood of everyone by now. In 1950, the company 3M bought the facility in Minnesota to continue manufacturing PFAS. They also began including PFAS in aqueous film-forming foam, also known as AFFF, which all firefighters have since been using to extinguish class B fires.

The company was also selling the chemicals to DuPont, another notorious business. By virtue of the ability to repel oil, and stains, as well as to withstand temperatures of 1,700 degrees, PFAS soon became a commercial success. However, the chemicals are non-biodegradable and thereby persist in the environment and in the human body once inhaled or ingested, being able to lead to the development of serious diseases such as kidney cancer, leukemia, and pancreatic cancer.

Unsurprisingly, 3M has been aware all along of the devastating effects of exposure to PFAS on the human body, but it chose to subvert science and cover up the scientific evidence supporting the toxicity of the chemicals. In 2000, the company stopped manufacturing PFAS. Nevertheless, before it ceased the production of the chemicals, it has been gaining almost one-half a billion dollars every year from selling PFAS. One piece of evidence that 3M was aware of the toxicity of PFAS from the beginning was the label they gave DuPont when selling the chemicals to the company, label which stated "CANCER: WARNING: Contains a chemical which can cause cancer".

Other related questions

See more questions