An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Air Force Response to PFAS

PFOS Quote

           Air Force Actions    Additional Resources


What are PFAS?

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS, are a group of manmade chemicals used for a wide variety of residential, commercial and industrial purposes including: nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabric and carpet, some food packaging and firefighting foam.PFOS PFOA Snapshot Data

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency established health advisory levels in drinking water for two types of PFAS - perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).The EPA has not established regulatory standards for PFOS and PFOA, but evolving science has identified potential risk to humans and regulatory standards are under consideration. 

For more information, visit the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS page.

PFOS and PFOA are components of legacy Aqueous Film Forming Foam the Air Force began using in the 1970s as a firefighting agent to extinguish petroleum fires; AFFF provides essential burn-back resistance, protection against vapor release and rapid extinguishment. 

In November 2015, more environmentally responsible AFFF formulas were added to the DOD’s qualified products list for firefighting agents. The Air Force began replacing both PFOS-based and other legacy AFFF products with a new, environmentally responsible formula in August 2016. The Air Force completed new foam delivery in August 2017.

The Air Force’s investigation work and mitigation actions are guided by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, applicable state laws and the EPA's lifetime drinking water health advisory of 70 parts per trillion. LEARN MORE ABOUT CERCLA.

The Air Force's Effort to Prevent Future Releases

The Air Force is taking steps to guard against future impacts by replacing legacy AFFF stockpiles with a foam that reduces PFOS/PFOA exposure, Phos-Chek 3 percent, six carbon chain AFFF. The Air Force is taking additional steps to reduce or eliminate unnecessary foam releases by:

• Retrofitting all fire vehicles with a switch mechanism to test functionality without discharging AFFF into the environment.
• Standardizing hangar systems and replacing systems containing the old formulation in conjunction with building renovations.
• Conducting fire training exercises in double-lined pits to prevent soil and groundwater impacts.
• Treating any uncontained releases of AFFF as if it were a hazardous-material spill and requiring immediate cleanup.

Partner Links

Department of Defense

  • A National Issue That Needs National Solutions. The Department of Defense PFAS webpage provides information on recent articles, congressional testimony, DoD memos, transcripts and public outreach. 
  • NEW DoD PFAS Website. Find general information on PFAS, information on DoD's Task Force, and details on DoD's actions to find, eliminate, and cleanup PFAS resulting from DoD activities

Centers for Disease Control Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry

United States Environmental Protection Agency​

  • CERCLA, an EPA overview on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
  • Health advisories set by EPA for PFOA and PFOS based on the agency’s assessment of the latest peer-reviewed science.
  • Research on PFAS by the EPA.