JACKSON (WNE) — Jackson Hole Airport is joining a consolidated lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina that charges aviation firefighting foam manufacturers with knowingly keeping …
JACKSON (WNE) — Jackson Hole Airport is joining a consolidated lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina that charges aviation firefighting foam manufacturers with knowingly keeping quiet the health hazard of one of their product’s chemical constituents: polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
To date there are more than 500 plaintiffs in the case, and they consist of water districts, municipalities and other entities that are grappling with the consequences of trace levels of PFAS that have percolated into their own, or neighboring, water supplies.
In Jackson Hole Airport’s case, a type of firefighting foam containing PFAS that’s required by the Federal Aviation Administration was used for decades for training on the property.
Over the years airport staff have commissioned consultants to do extensive water testing that’s mapped out the geographic scope of a PFAS plume that’s fouled the Snake River Aquifer and soils near the airport. They’ve also supplied — and now expanded — a program that provides nearby residents with complimentary drinking water filters certified to eliminate the pollutant.
PFAS are not among the 90 contaminants that are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That federal agency, however, has established a 70-part-per-trillion recommended health advisory level.
There is a growing body of scientific study suggesting that exposure of higher concentrations of PFAS may be a human health hazard, with wide-ranging effects that span a decreased response to vaccines in children and increased risk of testicular and kidney cancer.
Just one residential water sample has tested for more than the EPA’s current health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion, registering 70.3. In one test well on airport grounds, however, groundwater tested at a maximum of 382 parts per trillion — more than five times the recommended limit.