Firefighting chemicals a health risk at many Florida sites. Just four have been tested.

Read the full story in the Miami Herald.

It has been six months since Florida health officials learned that there was a potential problem with groundwater contamination, linked to fire retardant chemicals, at firefighting training sites across the state.

Of Florida’s 45 certified firefighting training facilities, 27 are known or suspected to have used those toxic chemicals, part of a family of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. But so far only four sites have been tested by the state Department of Environmental Protection for environmental contamination.

Another two dozen sites have yet to be assessed. Some facilities, like Miami-Dade College, are still using the foam today, for one-day training classes and on the coating of some of its firefighting gear.

The big question is: How potentially harmful is exposure to these chemicals to firefighters who are training and to people who live and work near those sites? The state is only beginning to assess how widespread that exposure could be.

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