International Association of Fire Fighters sues National Fire Protection Association over cancer-causing chemicals in gear

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:12 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The International Association of Fire Fighters is filing a lawsuit against the National Firefighter Protective Association over a NFPA standard that requires the use of cancer-causing forever chemicals, known as PFAs, in firefighters’ protective suits and gear.

The lawsuit alleges collusion between the NFPA and PFAs industry.

“It’s a little shocking,” said Toledo Firefighter Stanley Woody Jr. “We have only so many tools to protect us from the all the dangerous chemicals and the fire itself. One of your main tools could be something that’s killing you in the long run. So, it’s something that needs to change.”

IAFF Attorney David Hoyle says the IAFF has worked with the NFPA over the past several years to change the standard to no avail.

In a statement, the NFPA responded to the lawsuit: “NFPA shares the concern of the entire fire service community around the health and safety of first responders. We have not yet been served with this complaint, so we can’t comment on it.”

Hoyle says because of the NFPA standard; there currently is no market for PFAs-free firefighter gear; the IAFF hopes their lawsuit will change that.

“For a lot of us... sadly, the exposure has already happened. But I’ve got a guy in my station right now. He’s got less than six months on. There’s still time to make sure he doesn’t get the exposure that could lead to him getting sick,” said Toledo Firefighters Local 92 Vice President Lt. Phil Moline.

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