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AFFF Alternatives: How Safe and Effective Are They?

AFFF Alternatives: How Safe and Effective Are They?

May 6, 2024

Over the passage of time, the foam firefighter are using has multiple transformations, resulting in unique innovations. The AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) is one of the most unique developments in the firefighting industry. It was a crucial tool for battling fatal liquid fuel fires at military bases and airports.

AFFF could successfully extinguish any liquid fire by creating a solid foam layer on to cool it down. This layer halted any oxygen supply and averted reignition. Unfortunately, the foam also led to extreme repercussions in nature and human health. That is because the foam manufacturers are using PFAS, which is a type of carcinogenic chemical that causes different types of cancer, hormonal problems, developmental processes in children, and other health hazards.

As a result, anyone (firefighters and others who) suffer from life-threatening disease because of this toxic foam exposure can file a firefighter foam lawsuit. It will allow them to bring their health issues to light and also seek compensation for their losses.

Keeping this in mind, there was a need to look for better and safer alternatives. Even though the world has come up with various AFFF substitutes, only a few are considered effective. But are they safe? Read this article to know more.

Three AFFF Alternatives To Count On

The world must start using AFFF alternatives to ensure firefighter health safety. TorHoerman Law states that government agencies are planning initiatives for dealing with PFAS and phasing out this toxic foam. That aside, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has developed a council for securing public health and the environment from the side effects of PFAS. The agency has come up with a plan to address this problem from a governmental perspective.

As that takes place, the firefighting departments must eliminate the AFFF they possess to date. That way, they can make space for the following effective alternatives.


It is an innovative fire extinguisher that makes use of a distinctive process to combat fire. The gel comprises a water additive which can convert the liquid to a gel. It forms a secure layer on the surface of the fire,cuts the oxygen supply, and allows fast cooling. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, and one of the best substitutes for AFFF.

Fire stations would appreciate the versatility of this extinguisher as it works 50% faster to dissolve Class A and B fires. Eco-gel is also effective in extinguishing forest fires.

Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFS)

CFAS has a similar composition to AFFF without the fatal elements. It blends in the air, foam concentrate, and water to develop a solution that is operative against fires. This foam develops a denser layer compared to the traditional fire extinguisher. That aside, the foam caters to strict industry standards and makes sure that there is optimal fire suppression.

All fire stations must invest in this foam as it can effectively reduce Class A and B fires. Today, the majority of fire departments resort to this alternative for managing structural fires.

Fluorine-Free Foams

F3 is considered an eco-conscious alternative to firefighting foam for its ability to manage fatal fuel fires without leading in any damage. This foam doesn’t contain any fluorinated surfactants, which makes it eco-friendly compared to AFFF.

Like AFFF, even F3 is effective in developing a resistant foam layer that cools the fuel fires. As a result, it gets used to extinguish industrial fires, spill fires, and vehicle rollovers. Fire stations must invest in this alternative because it helps to arrive at a perfect balance between environmental considerations and fire safety.

Are All Alternatives Safe?

Going by the properties and functions, it is correct to say that F3, Eco-Gel, and CAFS are effective in diffusing dangerous fire flames. But now let us talk about the elephant in the room–are they all truly safe? At this moment, we don’t have all the answers. The companies indeed state that they prove to be effective on fuel fires. The question is, can they stack up against AFFF in a real-world scenario? For this, there is a need for ongoing comparisons apart from lab tests.

A few studies hint towards the alternatives having a toxic effect on aquatic life. If that is true, it’s important for fire stations to exercise caution, as the world can’t afford to have another environmental problem. But no one can yet claim that for sure.

That means there is a need for long-term studies to ensure fire stations are choosing the correct alternatives. Firefighters and concerned authorities must know such facts before they decide to invest in an alternative foam.

In conclusion, searching for the best AFFF alternatives will not be a simple task or a quick fix. It will take time to finalize an alternative that is both effective and safe for the firefighters, the environment, and other people. It requires advanced studies along with ample testing. Even though one can count on the three alternatives mentioned, it is necessary to be aware of how each one is performing and the recent developments that take place in this segment.