MA Firefighters Livid Over Decision to Continue Use of PFAS in PPE

The decision means that cancer-causing chemicals will remain virtually required in PPE.

MA firefighters are furious over a Quincy-based association’s decision to allow the continued use of toxic chemicals—PFAS—in the manufacture of protective gear, reports wgbh.com.

The decision, announced by the NFPA on the eve of September 11 memorials, means that cancer-causing chemicals will remain virtually required in PPE—exposing firefighters to PFAS through occupational hazards, the report says. PFAS have been linked to myriad cancers, as well as other diseases.

Firefighters and anti-PFAS groups have asked the association’s Standards Council to ixnay the practice of requiring the moisture barrier to withstand 40 hours of continuous UV light, the report says, as such a test more or less requires the use of textiles with PFAS.

Science officials and activists alike question the validity of the 40-hour UV test, as that layer is never exposed to that many hours of UV light, according to the report. Fire protection association officials say removing the test prior to understanding how it could affect that layer could pose serious health risks, and they add that the issue of PFAS in turnout gear will be considered at a later recommendation.

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