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04/23/2024 02:06 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: June 16, 2023 09:59 AM
From: Representative Patrick J. Harkins and Rep. Robert E. Merski
To: All House members
Subject: Banning PFAs chemicals in firefighter personal protective equipment
In our recent co-sponsorship memo for legislation that would require cancer screening examinations for professional firefighters, we noted that the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service is firefighter occupational cancer. That is why we are introducing a second piece of legislation aimed at protecting all the individuals who serve our communities as firefighters by banning PFAS forever chemicals from firefighting personal protective equipment.  
PFAS chemicals are one of the major classes of carcinogenic chemicals that firefighters are exposed to as occupational hazard. Among the sources of occupational exposure to PFAS chemicals are firefighters’ personal protective equipment, firefighting foam, and air and dust at both fire scenes and fire stations. The personal protective equipment used by firefighters is constructed with a type of PFAS chemical or treated extensively with PFAS chemicals to make the gear oil and water resistant and withstand very high temperatures. Unfortunately, studies show that PFAS compounds can degrade over time and shed or form dust and can transfer from the equipment to hands and skin when handled.
Our legislation would prohibit the distribution, manufacture, production or sale of firefighting personal equipment that contains an intentionally added PFAS chemical beginning January 1, 2028, with a few certain exceptions.   
Please join us in supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1541