Revaluation of stockpile amount of PFOS-containing aqueous film-forming foam in Japan: gaps and pitfalls in the stockpile survey


Stockpiles of perfluoro-octane sulfonic acid (PFOS) containing aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) have the potential to be emitted by leaching, spills, and during use in fire response and other processes. Several studies have discussed the high levels of stockpiled PFOS-containing AFFF and the risk they pose to the environment; however, there are large gaps in the amounts in Japan compared with other countries. For example, 300 tons are stockpiled in Canada, 2200–2600 tons in Switzerland, 1400 tons in Norway, and 19,000 tons in Japan from their reports for publication. The gap is considered to be a result of lack of surveys of several important sources. In this study, we revaluated the stockpile of AFFF in Japan to verify the reported value and identify the source of this gap based on information available in peer-reviewed papers, governmental reports, and business reports. The major reason for the gap between Japan and other countries was considered to be the survey of stockpiles in car-parking facilities, which accounted for 46.7% of the total amounts in Japan, but were not considered in other countries. These stockpiles indicate a high potential for accidental leaching or spilling of the AFFF by careless storage. Therefore, it is recommended that continual surveys of the AFFF stockpile in car-parking facilities be conducted in the rest of the world.

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This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI (grant no. 15H05340). The authors thank Yuki Yamatori for her help preparing the map shown in the figures.

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Correspondence to Yasuyuki Zushi.

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Zushi, Y., Yamamoto, A., Tsunemi, K. et al. Revaluation of stockpile amount of PFOS-containing aqueous film-forming foam in Japan: gaps and pitfalls in the stockpile survey. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 6736–6745 (2017).

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  • PFOS
  • AFFF
  • Stockpile
  • Car parking facilities
  • Fire extinguisher