PPE SPECIALIST JEFF KNOBBE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS ON PFAS IN YOUR PPE… ASK AWAY… WE’LL GET YOUR QUESTIONS TO HIM… HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS FROM DECEMBER 14TH’S Q&A WITH JEFF. We’ll add your questions and Jeff’s answers as they come in..

Q… Christian Sebesten Hello Mr Knobbe. What about gloves, balaclavas(especially the new particulate barrier type) and helmets?

A… Jeff Knobbe ; Christian Sebesten all item that contains a textile and NFPA 1971 certified has PFAS in it. I started getting a disclaimer on all of our quotes around the summer of 2018 I believe. Basically saying that this product contains PFAS. This was in turnout, gloves and boots.

Q… Christian Sebesten thank you. Do you have anymore detail for the particulate hoods. My understanding is that their particular blocking characteristics are archived using a Teflon like material. Are we trading one risk for another?

A... Jeff Knobbe Christian Sebesten I do believe that these do use a similar type of “Teflon” type material as the blocker. This would be the same as the moisture barrier on the turnout liners, just a lot thinner though for better breathability.
Please remember, no one is saying FF should not wear the best and most effective PPE available. Out dept. started issuing particulate blocking hoods almost 2 years ago. Would I wear it, ABSOLUTELY!!
The benefits far outweigh the risks of a standard knit fabric style hood.
However, I would not wear the hood around my neck as a scarf before needing to wear it and absolutely not after wearing it in a fire. Both of these scenarios I unfortunately see all the time.
On a side note.
When washing any style of SCBA hood, they should be washed with like items. ie liners.
NEVER wash hoods with turnout shells!!

Q… Angus Davison Jeff, does washing remove the risk? I would think that if the C6 is for water resistance, washing wouldn’t make a difference

A… Jeff Knobbe Angus Davison at the current time there is no way to remove the risk only to try and reduce long term exposure risk.

Thoroughly testing, the total Fluorine level (PFAS) was measured in a brand new set of turnout shells prior to washing. The shell was than washed and again retested for the total PFAS levels.
After just one wash there was a reduction in total PFAS levels.
If I were you I would wash all new structural PPE prior to wearing it

Q… Dan Meier Does the manufacturer of the fabric put the C6 on or does the turnout builder?

A… Jeff Knobbe: Dan Meier I’ve been to two major turnouts manufactures in the past few years. I can say that Globe, Honeywell etc have no ability to install the DWR finish.
So, that leaves the mills that make the fabric. The question is, does the DWR finish get installed at the time the thread is manufactured or after the fabric is made.
Either way, it’s put on by the mills.

Q… Dan Meier: How much is applied per set? 4oz or 16oz? And, did I read that it is washed off with laundering?

A… Jeff Knobbe: Dan Meier this is the standard line that I get from the mills and manufactures. That is proprietary information and intellectual properties that we’re unable to tell you.

No, you can not wash the PFAS off completely. When the gear is brand new there is an excess amount of these chemicals on the gear. Because there is so much you can wash some of it off but not all of it.

A very private individual who fell into a very public rabbit hole of epic proportions. I’ve learned the chemical industry , DuPont 3M, own the fire service.