The Tasmanian government has denied that the Tasmania Fire Service stores PFAS foams for use in firefighting. Through the recent election campaign in April 2021, the rhetoric used by the government and TFS changed considerably. It is clear that their statements are contradictory. The language used in relation to PFAS appears to have been constructed to mislead and confuse the average reader.
Here is what has been said by Tasmanian government officials on the public record and how it has changed over time.
There are quotes further down, but here is a quick summary of the governments changing rhetoric on PFAS:
- 7/4/2021 – TFS use PFAS sometimes, but TFS is looking to stop when they find an alternative.
- 21/4/2021 – TFS does not use PFAS at all. TFS is using an alternative B-class foam that is not PFOS or PFOA.
- 1/5/2021 – TFS does not use PFOS or PFOA, but TFS sometimes use Tridol which is PFAS.
Wednesday 7 April 2021
Melissa Mobbs, The Examiner
Tasmania Fire Service argued it had been actively reducing the impact of toxic firefighting foam in the state for the past two years.
Foams containing poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, continued to be used in “rare circumstances” in Tasmania, despite being banned in other states.
“The TFS position has been to move away from all fluorine foam products when a suitable fluorine free alternative has been identified,” TFS chief officer Chris Arnol said.
[Summary: TFS use PFAS sometimes, but TFS is looking to stop when they find an alternative]
Wednesday 21 April 2021
Rob Inglis, The Examiner
Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Shelton said he had been advised by TFS chief officer Chris Arnol that the “PFAS foam product” was no longer in use.
A TFS spokesperson said the TFS had actively been reducing the impact of PFAS in its workplace, conducting multiple audits of foam quantities containing PFOS and PFOA.
“Over the last two years Tas Fire Equipment has been removing foams containing PFAS from client sites, and 3000 litres of foam have also been disposed of in accordance with EPA requirements,” the spokesperson said.
“While B-class foam is still required in operational response in rare circumtances, an alternative B-class foam product is being used which does not contain PFOS or PFOA. “
[Summary: TFS does not use PFAS at all. TFS is using an alternative B-class foam that is not PFOS or PFOA]
Saturday 1 May 2021
Rob Inglis, The Examiner
TFS deputy chief officer Jeff Harper said PFOS and PFOA, the two most well-known PFAS chemicals, were no longer used by the TFS.
“Tridol is a product used specifically for fighting fuel fires, which are extremely rare,” he said. “Tridol contains chemicals that are part of the PFAS group but does not contain PFOS or PFOA.”
“Some Tridol is stored at Cambridge for emergencies and if the nature of a fuel fire requires its use then it may be used.
[Summary: TFS does not use PFOS or PFOA, but TFS sometimes use Tridol which is PFAS]
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