23 June 2024
Firefighter gear chemicals worsen 'forever chemicals'

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Firefighter gear chemicals may release more ‘forever chemicals’ with wear and tear. Last year, a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) showed that the textiles used in protective clothing worn by firefighters often contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, a class of chemicals that has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other health effects.

Firefighter Gear Chemicals: A Potential Source of Harmful Chemicals



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Growing concern over PFAS chemicals in firefighter gear
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Firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our communities from fires. They deserve to be equipped with the best possible gear to keep them safe. Unfortunately, some firefighter gear may contain harmful chemicals that could pose a health risk.

What Are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems. PFAS are used in a variety of products, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, and waterproof clothing.

Firefighter Gear and PFAS Chemicals

Firefighter gear is often made with materials that contain PFAS. These materials are used to make the gear water-resistant and heat-resistant. However, when these materials are exposed to wear and tear, they can release PFAS into the air. Firefighters can then inhale these chemicals or absorb them through their skin.

Health Risks of PFAS Chemicals Exposure

Exposure to PFAS has been linked to an increased risk of several health problems, including:

* Cancer

* Birth defects

* Immune system dysfunction

* Thyroid disease

* Liver damage

* Kidney damage

What Can Be Done?

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk of PFAS exposure from firefighter gear. These include:

* Using gear made with materials that do not contain PFAS

* Washing gear regularly to remove PFAS

* Avoiding contact with gear that is contaminated with PFAS

* Providing firefighters with education and training on the risks of PFAS exposure

Conclusion

Firefighters deserve to be protected from the hazards of their job. This includes protecting them from exposure to harmful chemicals like PFAS. By taking steps to reduce PFAS exposure, we can help keep firefighters safe.

FAQ’s

1. What are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems. They are used in a variety of products, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, and waterproof clothing.

2. How are firefighters exposed to PFAS?

Firefighters can be exposed to PFAS through their gear, which is often made with materials that contain these chemicals. These materials are used to make the gear water-resistant and heat-resistant. When the gear is exposed to wear and tear, it can release PFAS into the air, which firefighters can then inhale or absorb through their skin.

3. What are the health risks of PFAS exposure?

Exposure to PFAS has been linked to an increased risk of several health problems, including cancer, birth defects, immune system dysfunction, thyroid disease, liver damage, and kidney damage.

4. What can be done to reduce the risk of PFAS exposure from firefighter gear?

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk of PFAS exposure from firefighter gear, including using gear made with materials that do not contain PFAS, washing gear regularly to remove PFAS, avoiding contact with gear that is contaminated with PFAS, and providing firefighters with education and training on the risks of PFAS exposure.

5. What is being done to address the issue of PFAS in firefighter gear?

There are a number of efforts underway to address the issue of PFAS in firefighter gear. These efforts include research to develop new materials that do not contain PFAS, the development of new standards for firefighter gear, and the provision of education and training to firefighters on the risks of PFAS exposure.

Links to additional Resources:

https://www.nist.gov/ https://www.epa.gov/pfas/ https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/chemicals-linked-to-cancer/perfluoroalkyl-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas.html

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), Cancer

National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce whose mission is to promote American innovation and industrial competitiveness. NIST's activities are organized into physical science laboratory programs that include nanoscale science and technology, engineering, information technology, neutron research, material measurement,...
Read more: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS or PFASs) are a group of synthetic organofluorine chemical compounds that have multiple fluorine atoms attached to an alkyl chain. The PubChem database lists more than 6 million unique compounds in this group. PFASs started being used in the mid-20th century to make fluoropolymer coatings...
Read more: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

Cancer
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in...
Read more: Cancer

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