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Sununu Signs 2 Bills Restricting Use Of Chemical-Based Firefighting Foam, Fabrics

Heather Hayward / U.S. Air Force
Firefighting foam known as AFFF at a hangar in Idaho.

Governor Chris Sununu signed two bills Tuesday banning the use of some products that contain harmful PFASand other chemicals.

The industrial compounds have been linked to a wide array of health problems.

They were phased out of American manufacturing years ago, but may be present in older or imported items.

One bill Sununu signed will prohibit the use of a PFAS-based firefighting foam known as AFFF.

It was once widely used by the military and is still stockpiled at airports and other facilities. A spill of one such AFFF stockpile contaminated a river in Connecticut earlier this year.

The bill Sununu signed requires the state to set up a take-back program for those stockpiles in New Hampshire by 2021.

Sununu also signed a bill barring the import, manufacture or sale of furniture and carpeting containing certain levels of flame retardant chemicals.

Earlier this year, New Hampshire also passed strict new limits on PFAS in public drinking water supplies. Those limits take effect next month.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that a bill Sununu signed would restrict the sale of PFAS-based furniture and carpeting. In fact, the bill relates to a different set of flame retardant chemicals in these products. This story has been updated.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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