Indiana launches pilot program to monitor PFAS levels in fire fighter

July 10 • 2023

The Professional Fire Fighters Union of Indiana (PFFUI) has worked tirelessly to enact a new law in Indiana to monitor and help protect fire fighters from exposure to PFAS. 

“Knowing what level of PFAS we have absorbed into our bodies is just the first step, but it is an important one. We hope this will lead to earlier and more frequent cancer screenings. If we can catch cancer early, we can save lives,” said PFFUI President Tony Murray. “We especially want to thank Rep. Maureen Bauer for her dedication and hard work on this.” 

The PFFUI and Bauer have been collaborating for several legislative sessions to refine the bill’s language and garner support from other legislators and the state fire marshal’s office.

As a result of their hard work, House Enrolled Act 1219 – implemented by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – has been successfully passed, launching a pilot program that will monitor the PFAS levels of 1,000 fire fighters through regular blood tests.

As my community of South Bend continues to mourn the loss of several fire fighters to occupational cancer in recent years, the PFAS testing pilot program will finally give fire fighters a tool to know their own cancer risk early on and help prevent future late-stage diagnoses,” Bauer said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the PFFUI, the South Bend Fire Department, and South Bend Firefighters Local 362 for championing this bill.” 

Now that the law has passed, the selection process for the pilot program has begun. It is anticipated that it will include a blend of fire fighters in various risk categories, including those who work in busy firehouses and airports, and those with less exposure, such as new fire fighters. 

“Congratulations to our Indiana members on getting this important bill passed. State laws like this one play a critical role in the IAFF’s fight against PFAS exposure and occupational cancer,” said General President Edward Kelly. “This is an important step for our Indiana members so they can take action and stay healthy and safe on the job.”