Firefighters’ protective gear contains cancer-causing materials, according to a recent lawsuit filed by the International Association of Firefighters.
The union claims that nearly 75% of those honored at last year’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial died of occupational cancer, which they believe is directly related to the gear they are wearing.
The president of the union argues that the industry has no incentive to create an alternative to the current gear as there is only one kind on the market.
He believes that the standard for testing protective gear needs to be changed.
The lawsuit is based on the NFPA standard that requires a 40-hour UV light test for the moisture barrier inside bunker gear.
According to the CDC, PFAS, a group of chemicals used to make coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water, have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases.
The city of Mobile Public Safety Director has taken notice of the lawsuit and is working to ensure that firefighters in Mobile do not wear their gear for excessive amounts of time.
The International Association of Firefighters ultimately wants to hold the National Fire Protection Association accountable, saying that the current standard is “herding firefighters and their families.”