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CT firefighters sue uniform manufacturers for using dangerous chemical in their gear

Molly Ingram

Thousands of Connecticut firefighters are suing the companies that manufacture their gear for using a dangerous chemical in the manufacturing process.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, claims firefighters have gotten sick from the PFAS chemicals used to keep their gear fire retardant — and that manufacturing companies, including 3M and DuPont, knew that the materials were dangerous and did not warn users.

“While our firefighters risked their lives to protect their communities, they were knowingly being exposed to dangerous carcinogens,” Peter Brown, of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association, said. "We must hold these companies responsible for putting profits over people and support our firefighters."

PFAS is linked to cancer, immune system impacts and liver damage, according to the CDC.

The Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association and five unions are named as plaintiffs. Their lawyers say they’re seeking federal class action status to represent all Connecticut firefighters.

They’re represented by Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, which has brought cases against other companies for PFAS contamination issues.

“The defendants knew the equipment, materials and chemicals to be unsafe, but represented the opposite, and they failed to warn the firefighters or the public of specific, substantial risks to human health, profiting immensely from their actions,” said Jennifer Sclar, counsel at Silver Golub & Teitell and one of the lawyers representing the firefighters.

Connecticut is home to approximately 4,000 professional firefighters.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.