Statement to Congresswoman Annie Kuster and Congressman Chris Pappas August 13, 2019 ~ PFAS Field Hearing.
August 12, 2019
Honorable Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster
18 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
Honorable Congressman Chris Pappas
889 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
Dear Representatives Kuster and Pappas, On behalf of my husband Lt. Paul Cotter (ret), and myself, I wish to thank you for this opportunity to hear our PFAS contamination impact statement today. My name is Diane Cotter. I am an accidental advocate for firefighters PFAS exposure. I have not come here to tell you about toxic smoke and products of combustion. You all have a firefighter in your family, so you know. I am here to tell you about the greatest deception ever. I’d like to tell you about products of deception, used in our turnout gear, and how the manufacturers that embrace us, knew of this carcinogen, immersed themselves in every aspect of firefighter cancer, financed firefighter cancer symposiums, financed firefighter cancer research, financed memorials to fallen firefighters, and sat as voting members of firefighter turnout gear standards set by the NFPA, and yet, never once mentioned their chemical PFOA used in staggering amounts to make our gear waterproof. Four years ago my firefighter husband was stricken with career ending cancer. His diagnosis led to the discovery that the carcinogen PFOA has been used in the coatings of firefighter turnout gear for 20 years. This discovery was not made by a government organization, it was not found by NFPA, EPA, CDC, OSHA, ACC, Labor, Chiefs, or any group involved with firefighter safety. It was discovered when I sent a set of new never-worn turnout gear to nuclear physicist, Dr. Graham Peaslee, at Notre Dame University. The amounts of PFOA and other long-chain PFAS he discovered are staggering in numbers. Thousands of times higher than the EPA Health Advisory Limits for PFOA in water. See test results in link: https://station-pride.com/2017/09/07/fire-gear-pfoa-the-data-the-real-cancer-in-your-gear-follow-up/ The manufacturers deny knowledge of this carcinogen. DuPont, who makes the chemicals used in the fabric and its coatings, denies use of PFOA. While DuPont tells us they have ceased using PFOA in the manufacturing process, they do not tell us the ‘precursor’ used will form PFOA in ‘hours to days’. This is only the discovery of Dr Graham Peaslee. Who has to my knowledge never been involved with the fire service prior to our contact. Professor Peaslee has discovered a textile signature PFAS that forms PFOA and PFOS as it oxidizes. With the help of fellow supporters and an ‘underground’ network of firefighters who seek the truth, and with funding granted by Notre Dame University and Last Call Foundation Honoring Firefighter Michael Kennedy in Boston, Professor Peaslee is now testing 20 years’ worth of new, never-worn and decommissioned turnout gear. He has worked on this project for over a year pro-bono. He is about to reveal the results of his work. I have seen those results. The fire service has been poisoned.
past tense: poisoned; past participle: poisoned
administer poison to (a person or animal), either deliberately or accidentally.
His results will confirm our worst fears and more. There was also a fire station ‘dust’ study performed in conjunction with our PPE study. Those results are just as shocking and concerning. With no regulations in place, we have no requirements to study if PFOA/PFOS is been absorbed while we have been wearing this carcinogen for a 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35-year career.
My husband’s cancer came in his 27th year. We were told his tumor had been growing for almost ten years. A firefighter’s body heats up and absorbs the particulates through the skin like a sponge.
We cannot mitigate against a risk if we do not know it was there. We did not. But DuPont sure did. Without EPA regulations the chemical giants have been able to protect shareholder value at the expense of America’s Bravest. The Stewardship Program has been a catastrophic failure to us. DuPont is one of the 8 signers of the PFAS ‘pinky-swear’. While able to technically say they do not use PFOA in the chemical used in the making of the threads or coatings of our gear, they do not say “but we do use a precursor that will form PFOA and PFOS in hours to days”. I cannot fathom a more heinous omission. They say if it is there it would be in ‘trace’ amounts as a byproduct of production. They make sure we only look at products of combustion, we have never once looked at the products of deception. Until my husband’s cancer. With no knowledge of this threat, he took no precaution. He and his 1.4 million brothers and sisters, wear their turnout gear daily, touch the gear, the face, the mouth, we store it in our vehicles and wrap our children in it for photos. The gear has been degrading in our stations for twenty years. The PFAS adheres to the dust in the firehouse we ingest this daily. Per Dr Graham Peaslee, “There are exposure routes to PFAS through AFFF and gear”. I’d like to remind those reading, our exposure is cumulative; daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Please understand the amounts of PFAS used to make FF turnout gear are staggering. Even more than the amounts used in ‘water-resistant clothing’. The amounts used in turnout gear are more in line with industrial strength for outdoor construction materials withstanding years of outdoor use. In addition, firefighters have been omitted from the National PFAS Study that has been awarded to the military and water affected communities. ATSDR states because firefighters are ‘occupationally exposed’ it does not suit their criteria for a ‘water’ study. Omitted even with bipartisan support of the Senate and House, as well as a 47 page letter from Environmental Attorney Robert Bilott and a petition signed by 10,000 firefighters. Please accept this petition to include firefighters in the National PFAS Study funded by DoD for CDC/ATSDR, signed by 10,000 firefighter families: https://www.change.org/p/cdc-has-omitted-the-fire-service-from-the-first-national-pfas-study-this-study-was-to-include-first-responders-yet-miraculously-in-august-of-2018-the-fire-service-was-omitted-from-the-study-why-because-firefighters-are-occupationally-exposed We have no seat at the PFAS table. There is no urgency for firefighters, no agency coming to our fire stations to check on our water. We have no one to ask about studies. We have nowhere to gather as a community to discuss our cancers and our concerns if in fact the gear we wore is the cause of our cancers. There are 58,000 fire stations going unchecked.
There is no national protocol for testing fire stations in the USA to test for PFAS from years of training and/or storage of AFFF. With 58,000 fire stations in the nation, we have no one sounding the alarm to the firefighters that live in these stations. Only the state of New Hampshire sounded the voluntary alarm in October of 2017:https://www4.des.state.nh.us/nh-pfas-investigation/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Fire_Department_H20Sample.pdf
I have contacted EPA, CDC/ATSDR at least 20 times on this. There has been one reply from EPA Region One RA stating she was seeking contacts for me. The emails stopped being responded to.
I received word from Commander Kenny Fent CIH, NIOSH, who expressed concern and advised NIOSH was performing some tests. Yet, this is not happening fast enough, and no one is sounding the alarm. September 5, 2017, Attorney Robert Bilott along with Fire Chief Jeffrey Hermes and C8 Science Panel member Dr Paul Brooks, notifies EPA, CDC/ATSDR, and US Attorney General (then) Jeff Sessions, that he will sue the US Government ‘and others’ if first responders are not provided with PFAS Testing and Studies. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3988104-Firefighter-Letter.html One year later, in September 2018, Attorney Bilott would send a 45 page letter to CDC/ATSDR challenging them for the omission of firefighters completely from the National PFAS Study due to occupational exposure.https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/27/2018-18446/proposed-data-collection-submitted-for-public-comment-and-recommendations In October 2018, Attorney Bilott would file a nationwide class action suit on behalf of every man, woman, and child in the nation. His plaintiff is Fire Chief Kevin Hardwick. Who was exposed to PFAS without his consent or knowledge via AFFF and PFAS coated turnout gear: http://liblog.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Hardwick-v-3M-et-al-S.D.OhioE_.Div-no.18-01185-COMPLAINT-Thu4Oct2018.pdf Per the Fox Biomonitoring study of 2015, Firefighter PFOA levels are 3 times higher than the national average. From a … ‘yet unknown source’. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274322/ PFOA causes testicular cancer. Please take a look at our cancer stats, look closely at TC: DuPont knew this in 1992 from their own testing: In 2005 the UAW Union sent out 4000 letters advising DuPont and W.L. Gore that they had a ‘duty to warn the end-user’ that their products contained PFOA. See full report: http://www.ohiocitizen.org/campaigns/dupont_c8/marketreport.pdf That warning never came. In 1990 another issue began that we would not realize how significant this would become until thirty years later with the discovery of PFOA used in turnout gear. The members of FEMSA Fire & Emergency Manufacturers Association lobbied for and won the right to not put warning labels in our gear. To solidify that, this group, whose members also sat on NFPA 1971 then wrote the NFPA 1971 standard that a ‘warning label’ would not be used as it could lead to an ‘industry stopping crisis’. Instead, we now have a product label telling us how to care for our gear.And, in 2006 DuPont lobbied California to NOT put PFOA and PFOS on their Proposition 65 register. https://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/proposition-5/presentation/pfoapresentationall121206.pdf This is significant as the 2004 new, never-worn gear tested by Dr Graham Peaslee, Professor of Physics of Notre Dame, showed PFOA thousands of times higher than the newly released HAL for PFOA in water (see attached test results from Dr Peaslee). In February 2006, DuPont’s Susan Stalnecker (DuPont VP and Treasurer sent this ‘urgent’ email to DuPont people regarding ‘scripting’ she wished to convey to the EPA.Earlier still, from 1977 is the ‘NIOSH Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to the Decomposition Products of Fluorocarbon Polymers’ https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/77-193/default.html It’s now forty years later. Federal government is still telling us we are occupationally exposed. And still not taking any action to protect us. In fact, the government is blocking us from protection. Will not provide the studies we need and will not see us as an impacted community. With the August 2018 release of the ATSDR Toxicological Profile on PFAS we are listed as Occupationally Exposed.p. 536, ATSDR Tox Profile Occupational Exposure: “Individuals who perform jobs that require frequent contact with perfluoroalkyl-containing products, such as individuals who install and treat carpets or firefighters, are expected to have occupational exposure to these substances.” Environmental Impact from PPE. No regulations meant no one was watching the landfills where we dump our PPE: Professor Graham Peaslee has end-of-life concerns for the textile footprint of PFAS which makes up 36% of the fluoro-chemical industry sales. He provided me this information before I spoke at the January 2019 Stakeholder Statement at MassDEP PFAS MRL Petition by Toxics Action Center and Conservation Law Fund: Diane, we don’t know how much of the PFAS coating in a jacket will degrade into PFOA, and how much will degrade into other PFAS unfortunately. I do know the timescale on textiles like turnout gear will be on the order of a decade or two before it all decomposes. And I do know from literature (attached) that the majority of clothing will decay in PFOA compared to other PFAS…maybe 50–60% will end up as PFOA. This leads to a scary amount of PFOA in a typical landfill leachate. So to get you something more concrete, I went back to the measurement of the new turnout gear, that had 116 ppm of PFOA that was readily available from the material on the jacket. I am guessing 95+ % remain on the jacket, but this was what would come off immediately if you soaked the jacket in water for a couple days. I went to the internet and looked up how much material is in a men’s jacket, and it is about 3 yards x 45 in wide fabric or 1620 inches squared. Then I weighed a piece of jacket fabric in my lab from Boston FD, and I calculate about 730 g of fabric per jacket. (This is under 2 lbs, which seem a little light, but there is a lot of reinforced cloth and buckles on a typical jacket that probably gives it a few more pounds, but no more PFAS.) If there are 730 g of fabric per jacket and there are 116 ppm PFOA per gram, then you end with about 85 mg of free PFOA per jacket. This may not seem like much, but if you tossed two jackets into an Olympic-sized swimming pool (with 660,000 gallons of water), this amount of PFOAThere are some assumptions in here…but this is why I am concerned about the end-of-life disposal of turnout gear…like carpets they represent a significant source of PFAS for a few generations to come. ………………………………… would exceed the 70 parts per trillion EPA standard for drinking water! This is without decaying in a landfill for 20 years. Imagining pants are about the same as a jacket, that means one set of new turnout gear tossed into water would produce enough waste PFOA to contaminate a full-sized swimming pool. Then if you let it decay in a landfill for 10–20 years you would probably get enough PFOA to contaminate 100 times that much…but the exact ratio of PFOA to other PFAS isn’t known in decaying fabric, and the total amount of fluorochemicals applied to the clothing isn’t known exactly by anybody but manufacturers, so it will be hard to say whether it is 100x or 500x. But the bottom line is that these heavily treated textiles will contaminate 300,000 gallons of water per item readily, and maybe 100 times that over a couple of decades in the landfill…which is a lot of water. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp200.pdf https://www.ewg.org/release/defense-bill-heading-house-floor-includes-provision-banning-toxic-firefighting-foam-military ……………………………….. 67% of 100 firefighters will be diagnosed with cancer. PFOA causes testicular and kidney cancer, two of the most prevalent cancers in the fire service. Our immediate needs are a direct result of inaction to pass laws that would require testing of chemicals used for first responders, that would prevent precursors being the loophole giant corporations can use to protect shareholder value at the end users expense. https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/chemical/docs/?fbclid=IwAR19PD3Y5XpbFATkScapovzjsys2X4rMzp38y4KgZI_aOQbKW8M5pa2Bjxg#id=jppw0228 This concerns me gravely. It states she will be asking ‘Chad’ to reach out to ‘Steve Johnson’. Steve Johnson was Administrator of the EPA from 2005 to 2009. The familiarity of a DuPont executive to send an urgent letter to advise the EPA what to say about PFOA is astonishing. If the EPA did heed the script I do not know. https://www.femsa.org/whois_femsa/history/ http://www.fluoridealert.org/wp-content/pesticides/effect.pfos.class.timeline.htm https://www.firefighterclosecalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/FF-Cancer-Fact-Sheet.pdf
To restrict this study to drinking water exposures, any adult occupationally exposed to PFAS will not be eligible for the study ( i.e. ever firefighters or in chemical manufacture). Likewise, children whose birth mothers were occupationally exposed will not be eligible.
In June of 2019 the long-awaited word from DOD came that there will be action to protect the military and civilians by banning toxic AFFF:
While this is a long-fought victory, it does not take into consideration the turnout gear being worn by 1.4 million firefighters, nor does it address past use of chemicals used in AFFF and our gear.
Although there are two possible studies testing PFAS in firefighter PPE, or one serum studies across the nation, this falls far short of the much needed large scale PFAS study the fire service desperately needs. The fire service has immediate PFAS needs.
· We have no seat at the PFAS table.
· *Our community is not recognized.
· *We have no ability to come before any government organization and ask
· questions or receive answers.
· *We have no government agency directing fire stations to test water
· and wells.
· *We have no government agency directing fire stations to test for PFAS
· *We have no replacement for our turnout gear. The only chemical that meets NFPA 1971 for structural PPE is PFAS. The same manufacturer that makes this chemical also sits as a voting member on NFPA 1971. At no time did this corporation, DuPont, ever advise the NFPA that there was a SVHC or CEC in use of firefighter turnout gear.
· *We have no national plan for the use of AFFF, for the removal of fluorine AFFF
We speak often to the offices of Jim McGovern, Annie Kuster, Chris Pappas, Elizabeth Warren, Jeanne Shaheen and Dan Kildee and Gary Peters. All are very knowledgeable, concerned, professional, and extremely helpful, and we are grateful for the work of Senators Warren, Hassan, Murkowski and Representatives McGovern and Fitzpatrick for their bipartisan letters demanding ATSDR include firefighters in the National PFAS Study. https://www.shaheen.senate.gov/news/press/shaheen-murkowski-lead-bipartisan-letter-urging-cdc-and-atsdr-to-prioritize-studies-on-health-effects-of-firefighters-exposure-to-pfas https://mcgovern.house.gov/uploadedfiles/pfasletter.pdf We are grateful for Senator Warren and her amendment seeking a 5 million dollar first responder PFAS study.We ask that she continue to amendment any bill that would get us that funding. Yet, we are frustrated. Who is protecting the protector? I must respectfully say that our government has failed us in a bipartisan manner. That elected leadership on both sides of the house have failed the fire service for almost five decades. Without legislation of these chemicals, we have been the guinea pigs for the nation. For fifty years we have been using AFFF and for twenty years wearing industrial amounts of PFAS. https://www.warren.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/warren-files-amendments-supporting-massachusetts-firefighters-police-officers-and-first-responders
· from fire stations/fire trucks, we have no tracking of AFFF.
· * We have no ‘comprehensive cohort study’
https://redmondems.iaff.org/registered-exhibitors-and-sponsors QUESTIONS: We have questions that must be answered. Surely we are owed that. Q. Beginning with ‘who knew what and when did they know it?” This is the exact same question Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick asked of the DoD in 2017 when a ‘personal note’ was released from 2001. That note was from a member of the NFPA 11 Foam Committee (in article). This note stated that 3M was leaving the AFFF business. The others in the committee were floored. The author of the note stated AFFF was PBT, ‘a death sentence’. No one told the boots on the ground.
· Serum testing: Are our cancers related to the actual gear we wear? PFAS adheres to blood. We have been wearing PFAS laden gear for 20 years, and never knew till January 2018.
Q. Did this ‘omission’ of PFAS in our turnout gear the last 20 or so (we have no information from the corporations when the coatings began) benefit the corporations’ bottom line? PPE is a multi-billion dollar a year industry.Q. Does/has the use of this precursor that forms PFOA in ‘hours to days’ sidestep the Stewardship Program? By way of volume of total PFOA, and/or Precursors? Who is measuring this? Q. Has there been an antitrust issue? If DuPont was warned in years past to notify the end-user, and they never have, in fact, they make sure we only look at toxic smoke as causation, while knowing of the PFAS chemicals in our gear, have they misled their shareholders? Q. Are the insurance agencies of this nation paying the cost for the fire service cancers when it should be investigated if the chemical corporations that sat on NFPA and remained silent about the amounts of PFAS in their chemicals, that they themselves then voted into standards, giving us no other option or alternative? Q. Would have/ will insurance agencies now look differently at the fire service? Q. What about the firefighter that has cancer, and loses their insurance? What if that cancer was testicular or kidney cancer? Again, it was only months ago we learned of the carcinogens used to make our gear. A veteran diagnosed with cancer, who is/was a firefighter will have their claim denied. Because they are considered occupationally exposed as a firefighter. These are the same group of servicemen and women who serve this country, who have worked as firefighters in the service. NFPA 1971 has a standard that sets how much water resistance the PPE must bear. There are some manufacturers that exceed this standard by 10%. No one has ever asked why? Is that a place where expensive chemicals can be stored and shareholder value can increase? Q. What is our recourse? We spend thousands on PPE. Many/most? firefighters pay out of pocket for a set of gear that runs 2000 or more. Q. What about cities and states that cover firefighter cancers? Lastly, this may be the only list of ‘non-military’ fire-stations that have tested elevated for PFOA/PFOS that you will find. The data is from the EWG database and new articles that appear daily of AFFF contamination. I research to see if it was a fire station or fire training academy. It is kept by me. A firewife. I’m saddened to think this is the best we can do for America’s Bravest: https://medium.com/@dianecotter/see-link-for-how-to-test-your-station-b512ae2ac42c Remember, every firefighter in this nation will still don that toxic gear. Knowing he/she has no other choice. They are doing it every single day, they are doing it knowing we have no alternative. It will take years for NFPA and PPE manufacturers to create new technology. I’d like to ask you, when you don your suit coat for your office if you knew you had to wear staggering amounts of PFOA for a forty-hour week, with no end in sight, would you do it? On August 2, 2019 Senators Gary Peters, Maggie Hassan, Dan Gardner, and Cory Sullivan would introduce the PFAS Act of 2019. It is co-sponsored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen. https://pfasproject.com/2019/08/02/new-senate-bill-limits-firefighter-exposure-to-pfas/ https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/personal-protective-equipment-ppe-market
· Australia has just begun the first ever removal of firefighter serum to attempt to remove PFOA from the blood of their firefighters. MFB Commander Mick Tisbury has initiated this study.
· *There is no ‘end-of-life’ protocol for these garments. Tens of thousands of yards of
· staggering amounts of PFAS are degrading in landfills. Every single PFAS molecule
· will remain in the soil and groundwater/waterways after the fabric degrades, PFOA will still be forming. Remember, textiles make up over 30% of the fluoro-chemical industry footprint.
· We would like the opportunity for you to hear us in person, by a Senate and House of Representatives. I understand this recommendation must come from a Chairperson.
ON May 13, 2019, 3M DuPont, Chemours., et al., would respond to Environmental Attorney Robert Bilott who is representing Fire Chief Kevin Hardwick in Hardwick v 3M et al. https://email@example.com_20335/reply-in-support-of-defendantsjoint-motion-to-dismiss-101a0a02002a
Their position is that Fire Chief Kevin Hardwicks cancer and PFOA serum levels can not be proven to come from their products. That PFOA is so common it could come from any number of products. Robert Bilott is seeking studies and medical monitoring for anyone effected with PFAS in their blood. While these same manufactures preach and teach firefighter cancer prevention, they have never warned us of the danger of exposure of their chemicals in our AFFF or PPE.
These same manufacturers are sponsoring the International Association of Firefighters Cancer Summit this next week in Nashville, Tennessee and will not assume any risk for the chemicals used in our turnout gear and AFFF.
What is the industry saying? The IAFF has reviewed the science and stated that “it is unlikely that PFOA is present in any significant concentrations in uncontaminated new or recently US manufactured turnout gear” and that “even if present on outer shell treatments or within the moisture barrier of legacy turnout gear the exposure contribution from any such PFOA content is likely to be minimal since volatilization from the manufactured product would be required.”
https://www.theintell.com/news/20170609/dangers-of-firefighting-foam-discussed-in-2001-document-shows The NFPA committee member notes from 2001: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4178280-NFPA-Schedule.html
The Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act of 2019 would direct federal agencies to develop best practices, training, and educational programs to reduce, limit and prevent exposure to PFAS, according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan.
The bill, he said, would also require guidance to be issued on alternative foams and personnel protective equipment that do not contain PFAS.
‘Firefighters are unfortunately exposed to extremely high levels of PFAS chemicals in the line of duty. Despite evidence linking PFAS to serious health problems, very little has been done to address the impact these chemicals can have on the health of the brave men and women who look out for our own safety,’ Peters said in the release.
According to Peters, firefighters face disproportionately high levels of PFAS exposure. In addition to the foam — , known as AFFF and used in situations like airplane crashes and tanker wrecks — the substances are a common ingredient in personal protective equipment…
On August 9, 2019 Chemours asks FDA to suspend its approved uses of PFAS in food packaging. Zonyl was used in food packaging and was used in firefighter turnout gear. Though no longer called Zonyl, our replacement coatings are of the same chemistry, and in amounts that will last ten years.
Yet, no one is calling for the immediate suspension of PFAS in firefighter turnout gear. Not the IAFF, Not NFPA, Not IAFC, Not NVFC, No one.
In fact, the last statement made about pfas in turnout gear was given by manufacturer Lion, who chose to send a message of all is well to the front line, while they were just at Professor Peaslee’s lab in Notre Dame, and weeks earlier had heard his results of the 20 year span of turnout gear he tested where he found a pfas precursor that degrades to form PFOA IN A MATTER OF HOURS TO DAYS.
4.24.2019 Lion Manufacturing: HERE’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PFOA AND YOUR TURNOUT GEAR
Lion is another sponsor of the fire service cancer symposiums, seminars, research, etc. In this statement, they will not name the research paper. One must ‘contact’ them. This is the typical spin we get from industry.
Industry is promoting their own funded health studies and telling the fire service we are in no harm. And that ‘trace amounts’ are acceptable. The ‘trace amounts’ Dr. Peaslee found in the 2004 gear we tested were thousands of times higher than the MRL for PFOA in water.
Lion incorrectly states the OEKO-TEX MRL of 25 ppb PFOA in turnout gear as is a safe number is factually wrong. OEKO-TEX NEVER set that number. The number was an industry compromise as per the rigorous developments of the EU ECHA PFOA restrictions. ECHA asked manufacturers to limit PFOA in PPE to 2ppb. Manufacturers complained it could not be achieved. ECHA compromised with a 25 ppb limit. This is not a safety measure. This is an industry compromise and not in our favor. https://cswab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Industrial-Fire-Journal-Six-year-PFOA-Reprieve-for-Gear-2015.pdf
DuPont has immersed itself so deeply into the fire service that our leaders seek them out for their ‘word’ on the issue. The corporation that omitted this information has given its word to the IAFF that all is well. That the new C6 chemistry is safe.
This new US State Department paper says otherwise: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/pfas/index.html
This statement from the IAFF is equally shocking and trivializes the amounts and exposure routes that firefighters are in exposed to. This IAFF statement also directly opposes the statment given from the testimony of Thomas Putnam representing the IAFF during last year’s hearing September 2018:
Major U.S. manufacturers have assured IAFF that PFOA is no longer present within the moisture barrier of turnout gear or in the barrier treatments of used on turnout gear, but the toxin may be present in legacy gear. To better protect fire fighter health, we support discontinuing the use of legacy foams and turnout gear containing PFOA.
They either support it or they don’t. The messages are confounding.
This 2015 IAFF Cancer publication quotes Dr Philippe Grandjean stating that the chemical is not safe in any amounts : https://services.prod.iaff.org/ContentFile/Get/10183
I wish to thank you for hearing me today. I realize this has been a very lengthy statement. But we had one shot, and we had a lot to tell you. I ask you to please read the messages and testimonies from members of the fire service below. They are speaking directly to you.
Here are two years’ worth of statements discussing the pages of health effects but concluding the manufacturers insist the C6 chemistry is safe. There is no ownness of previous amounts of PFAS or directives for safe handling precautions. These statements are in response to the confusion and chaos that was the result of the article I wrote for ‘Station Pride’ magazine titled ‘The Real Cancer in Your Gear’ in March 2017: https://station-pride.com/2017/03/28/the-real-cancer-in-your-gear/ The article drew thousands of shares with almost no comments. No one knew what to say. It was too impossible to comprehend. But we now know, two years later that it was true, and more.
The IAFF has been nonresponsive to the many emails and opportunities I have presented for collaboration with Dr. Peaslee on this issue. A high ranking member of IAFF H&S did take part in the February conference call my group established with fire service leaders in order to prepare them for the results of Dr. Peaslee’s results. In that call, Dr. Peaslee advised he had found PFOA in everything for 20 years (except one 2017 moisture barrier). Dr. Peaslee explained on that call he discovered a precursor that forms PFOA in hours to days. While supportive of the non-fluorine regulations and standards for AFFF that consist of the same chemicals in turnout gear, it is my opinion IAFF is not doing enough to prepare and mediate the fire service front line for the prevention of exposure to these chemicals. Statements for the last two years state IAFF does not see a reason to recall legacy gear. And, that industry has promised they no longer use PFOA, and that prior to 2013 it was in there only as trace amounts. The amounts in the 2004 gear we tested were hardly what one would call trace amounts.
Last month, Glenn Evers, a chemist at DuPont for 22 years, testified to the House Oversight and Reform Committee that he left DuPont over their unwillingness to heed his warnings of the product Zonyl. A coating used on paper products for food. And Textiles:
We have been wearing ZONYL since the 90’s .. if not the 70's… per this laundering guide my research has discovered. It is specific to firefighter turnout gear.
The laundering guide suggests another DWR to be used on turnout gear. Here is the 2015 MSDS for Fireline. https://www.winsol.com/uploads/4/2/3/1/42312731/5148_-_fireline_durable_water_repellent_-_sds_112015.pdf
please note the ingredients are a trade secret. Item 3 from pdf.
COMPOSITION/INFORMATION ON INGREDIENTS Ingredients: “0” equals no Cas# available/trade secret The exact percentage (or concentration) of ingredients has been withheld as a trade secret. Composition Comments: Components and trace elements not listed are either non-hazardous or are below reportable limits.
FIRELINE Durable Water Repellent 5148 11/20/2015 Durable moisture repellent for Fire Fighter’s Turnouts Mix or shake well before each use.
Originally published at https://medium.com on August 14, 2019.