PFAS Regulation for Firefighters

PFAS Regulation for Firefighters

When television networks look for drama, it’s no wonder they many times feature firefighters on shows.

We all know the job of firefighter is dangerous. They battle to stem the tides of forest fires. They run into engulfed houses to rescue people. And they must be prepared at the drop of a firefighter’s hat to spring into action.

So, the last thing they need to be worrying about is their gear. They should expect their tools, their outfits, their methods of fire extinguishing to protect them.

Hundreds of firefighters, however, are suing manufacturers of a product that may be putting their lives even more in danger than the fires.

The issue is a special firefighting foam called aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) that is extremely effective at putting out fires. According to the Legal Examiner, “AFFF’s active ingredient is a group of chemical agents called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly called PFAS. Elevated levels of PFAS were found in the firefighters’ blood late last year, and all have developed cancer or other serious health problems.”

The firefighters allege the AFFF manufacturers, including 3M, DuPont and Chemours, knew the foam contained dangerous chemicals yet did nothing to warn them. It’s been reported that PFAS were even found in firefighters’ “turnout” coats – specially designed for their protection.

West Virginia has seen cases filed. And many states – including Washington, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York – are passing legislation on PFAS regulation. Several states have even sued PFAS manufacturers for threatening the environment and public health.

It’s certainly an issue to be followed.

   

Hundreds of firefighters are suing manufacturers of a product that may be putting their lives in more danger than the fires.