COLORADO SPRINGS — On February 28, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser filed a lawsuit against 15 companies for selling aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) containing chemicals that could be harmful to humans.

“These are chemicals in this firefighting foam that gets into our water, gets into our bodies and is associated with a series of public health harms including cancer,” Weiser said.

Weiser said this firefighting foam contains PFAs or “forever chemicals” because they can remain on an organism for a long period of time. This can include plants, animals and even people.

“We don’t even know the full extent of the harm. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is working on standards limiting these ‘forever chemicals’ and how much of them can be exposed to humans. So we’re playing catch up.”

Attorney General Phil Weiser saying even though the damage has been done, he said he hopes he can still hold the manufacturers accountable. Credit: Rachel Saurer

This foam is being used across the state, but Weiser said Southern Colorado could be at a higher risk. In the past several years, cases have emerged with concerned citizens citing sudden illnesses as being a result of contaminated groundwater.

“It’s a real issue in Southern Colorado… air force bases, airports, oil and gas operations, other facilities that use these chemicals are at risk of having them in the water and affecting their populations.”

Weiser also said it is actually common for this foam to be used by air bases and airports, but anyone was given a choice to use it or not, which can be attributed to the manufacturer’s negligence, according to Weiser.

In fact, the Colorado Springs Fire Department uses Class A foam, which is reportedly gentler and more like dish soap.

“Because the people who pushed out this AFFF, this firefighting foam and forever chemicals weren’t telling people about the risks, people made decisions. What to use, how to use it, not knowing the consequences,” Weiser said.

Since the damage has already been done, Weiser is seeking a court order for the manufacturers to pay for all costs in investigating, cleaning up, restoring and monitoring contamination in the state where these forever chemicals may exist.