Toxics in firefighting law

Firefighter fighting a fire
In 2018, Washington passed the Firefighting Agents and Equipment law (Chapter 70A.400 RCW). This law does the following:

  • Restricts the use of AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam), a type of firefighting foam that contains PFAS (per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances)
  • Requires manufacturers of firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE) to notify buyers if their products contain PFAS
  • Directs us to work with the Department of Enterprise Services to develop preferred purchasing guidance to help other public sector partners avoid purchasing AFFF and PFAS-containing PPE

In relation to this law, we are developing an AFFF collection and disposal program to help local fire departments and first responders collect and safely dispose of unused AFFF they have on-site.

What does the law include?

Under the law, Class B firefighting foam (otherwise known as AFFF) and PFAS-containing PPE are banned for most purposes.

  • PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of organic chemicals that pose significant environmental and health hazards.
  • AFFF is a PFAS-containing firefighting foam that is responsible for nearly all PFAS-contaminated drinking water across the United States.

AFFF is restricted in Washington state

AFFF can no longer be:

  • Manufactured.
  • Sold.
  • Used for fire training (no exemptions).

AFFF may still be used for emergencies and required testing.

PFAS-containing firefighting PPE requires written notice

PFAS-containing firefighting PPE can still be manufactured and sold, but manufacturers and sellers must provide a written notice to buyers that their products contain PFAS.

Frequently asked questions