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04/23/2024 02:30 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: April 28, 2023 11:47 AM
From: Representative Greg Scott
To: All House members
Subject: PFAS Chemicals in Firefighter Protective Gear
When our lives or homes are in danger, we often rely on the actions of our local firefighters to save us.  However, while they save our lives, nobody is saving them from the hidden dangers found in the equipment they are required to use and wear.  Firefighter equipment is required to meet national standards for fire-resistant gear and, unfortunately, those standards include PFAS chemicals.
The health risks of the PFAS chemicals have caused concern for firefighters.  PFAS are a group of over 7,800 human-made “forever chemicals” used in a wide range of products due to their ability to repel dirt, water, and grease, and not break down over time.  Studies have shown that PFAS chemicals may have long-term effects on individuals, such as impacting liver enzymes, increasing high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, decreasing birth weight in infants, and increasing the risk of kidney or testicular cancer. 
Since 2015, almost three out of four firefighters who were added to the International Association of Fire Fighters Fallen Firefighter Memorial have died from apparent occupational cancer.  It is for this reason that I am introducing legislation to require manufacturers of personal protective equipment that contain PFAS to include a warning label on the products and provide written notice to the purchaser that the equipment contains these chemicals. Both the manufacturer and purchaser would be required to retain the notice for at least three years from the date of purchase.
While we cannot completely eradicate the use of PFAS in firefighter gear, we can hope to warn those of the long-term dangers of being exposed to these chemicals. 
Please join me in protecting our firefighters as they protect us and support this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1571