IAFF General President Edward Kelly was a among the distinguished speakers at a virtual press conference announcing the filing of the PFAS Firefighter Protect Act. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Representative Dan Kildee (MI) are introducing the legislation in their respective chambers. Public advocacy powerhouse Liz Hitchcock of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families was also on hand.
The event, which was attended by 30 journalists, advocacy groups and congressional staffers, emphasized the urgency of the legislation and the IAFF’s continuing campaign to extinguish cancer from the fire service.
“This is the fight of our generation. On the fire ground, IAFF members are exposed to PFAS-laden firefighting foams. This exposure subjects us to higher risks of occupational cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” says General President Kelly. “The time has long passed to accept this as a hazard of our work. The IAFF and its members appreciate the support of Senator Gillibrand and Representative Kildee on this critical issue.
If passed, the legislation will prohibit the manufacture, import and sale of all firefighting foam that includes cancer causing PFAS. The ban is a critical step in protecting the health and safety of fire fighters as firefighting foams containing PFAS have been linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer and thyroid disease.
“Fire fighters are exposed to PFAS every day. As they put their lives on the line every day to protect us, we must do more to protect them from exposure to these toxins,” says Senator Gillibrand.
Representative Kildee says now is the time to use PFAS alternatives.
“We know that there are alternatives that can be used effectively in firefighting training foam. It is unconscionable that these toxic chemicals are still in use,” he says.
The IAFF continues to partner with all like-minded individuals and organizations, from elected leaders to advocacy groups, to eradicate cancer from the fire service.