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Foam extinguisher containing PFAS leaked at Kadena AB eight times between 2018 and 2021

  • April 23, 2022
  • , Okinawa Times
  • JMH Translation

Saturday’s Okinawa Times led with a report by freelance journalist Jon Mitchell, in which he said that he has learned from U.S. Air Force documents obtained by the Okinawa Times through the Freedom of Information Act that nine cases of leaked foam extinguisher occurred at the Kadena AB between May 2018 and January 2021 and that eight of them involved PFAS. The paper wrote that the case on Aug. 17, 2018, was the most serious incident, in which a total of 2,270 liters of foam extinguisher leaked and some of it flowed out of the base. Another major incident was the leakage of 2,270 liters of foam extinguisher on May 4, 2018, due to the malfunction of a sprinkler system at a hangar at the base. This case did not involve PFAS. The paper wrote that according to the documents it obtained, although foam leaked out of the base, the incident was not reported to Japanese authorities. As for the seven other incidents, although the foam extinguisher contained PFAS, the amount was small and the foam did not flow out of the base. According to the documents, the U.S. military has determined that a lack of attention caused four of the seven cases and technical problems caused the other three.

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