Evaluating AFFF options & developing foam management best practices

Client Name
Multiple confidential clients
North America
  • Land quality & remediation
  • Risk assessment & toxicology


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are known constituents of firefighting foams used in fire suppression infrastructure at large oil & gas facilities (e.g. bulk terminals, refineries).

Confidential clients had identified various aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) containing PFAS for potential procurement in their operations. They requested SLR conduct an ecological toxicity evaluation of the various products under consideration to inform their selection.


As part of the ecological evaluation, SLR reviewed the AFFF safety data sheets and liaised with the manufacturers to obtain detailed product constituent information and related environmental toxicity data. SLR also reviewed product efficacy data to assess whether different volumes of the products would be necessary under similar fire conditions.

The ecological evaluation focused on comparing the available terrestrial and aquatic acute toxicity data for the formulations and individual constituents; terrestrial and aquatic chronic toxicity data was generally lacking for the AFFF and individual constituents which was considered a significant uncertainty in the assessment. Consequently, SLR outlined a number of best management products for the handling of the selected product to mitigate potential risks to terrestrial and aquatic organisms.


SLR’s review identified that PFAS constituents in two AFFF formulations had the potential to generate long-chain PFAS which posed a concern in terms of potential for bioaccumulation in terrestrial and aquatic organisms. SLR recommended the evaluation of fluorine-free alternatives due to increasing market availability and ability of such foams to meet military specifications, but also recognising that fluorine-free foams also pose acute toxicity concerns. Best management practices for the handling, storage, use and disposal of all foam products were outlined to further assist SLR’s clients in mitigating potential impacts to the environment from the use of firefighting foams.