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

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The International Association of Fire Fighters is filing a lawsuit against the National Fire Protection Association over a NFPA standard that requires the use of carcinogenic forever chemicals, also known as PFAs, in fire protective gear.

The lawsuit alleges collusion between the NFPA and the PFAs industry.

“It’s a little shocking,” said Toledo Firefighter Stanley Woody Jr. “We have only so many tools to protect us from 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 lawsuit comes after the IFAA spent years working, unsuccessfully, with the NFPA to change the standard. Hoyle says because the NFPA requires PFAs in gear, there is no PFAs-free alternative currently on the market; they hope the lawsuit will change that.

“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,” said a statement from the NFPA.

If it comes, change will be too late for some firefighters. However, a local union leader says it’s about protecting future firefighters.

“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 Firefighter’s Local 92 Vice President Lt. Phil Moline.

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