Firefighters' heat-blocking gear contains toxic chemicals

The equipment that firefighters across the country use to protect their own lives while saving others could actually be detrimental to their health. Heat-blocking gear

worn by firefighters has been found to contain chemicals that can cause liver, kidney and thyroid disease, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters, which

represents more than 330,000 firefighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada. "Recent studies have shown all three layers of the protective clothing contain Per

and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), a class of fluorinated chemicals known as 'forever chemicals' which have been linked to cancer" – the leading cause of firefighter deaths,

the union said in a joint statement with the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association. As a result, firefighters nationwide are being urged to limit their use of protective gear

to situations where it is absolutely necessary. "We need to combat what's killing us and I am committed to making sure we do everything we can to extinguish cancer from the

fire service. That starts with removing PFAS from our turnout gear and, until PFAS-free options exist, reducing our exposure as best we can," IAFF General President Edward Kelly

said in a statement.