Firefighter Cancer Quadfecta - A look at the expanding reach of firefighter cancer

During hearings for a bill in the New Hampshire legislature, Christine Jameson from Hampton, New Hampshire gave heartbreaking testimony. She recounted that her 33-year-old firefighter husband Kyle died from what doctors say is a work-related cancer, T-Cell prolymphocytic leukemia. He also left behind a 2.5-year-old child.

Unfortunately, the Jamesons’ story is not uncommon. For several years, I have been concerned about the high rates of cancer in both civilian firefighters and those in the armed services. Firefighters get mesothelioma at twice the rate the general public and have 9% higher incidence rates of developing cancer and 14% higher rate of mortality from cancer when compared with non-firefighters. Additionally, firefighters have higher incidence rates lung cancer and leukemia mortality and risks with modestly increased with firefighter exposures. Leukemia mortality was greater for more recent exposures.

Read More
Mindi Messmer
FAQs Regarding PFASs Associated with AFFF Use at U.S. Military Sites

What are the human and ecological exposure pathways and health effects?

Human and ecological exposures to PFASs can include any of the basic exposure pathways for chemicals in the environment. Exposure pathways that originate with PFASs in water, sediment, soil, dust, and gas (e.g., atmosphere, soil vapor) can including direct absorption across the skin or dermis, inhalation of volatile PFASs or PFASs bound to particulates, and direct ingestion.106,107 Because PFASs can accumulate in biological tissue and lead to biomagnification of PFASs within food webs,108 consumption of animals and plants can also be an important exposure pathway.4,109

Read More
Mindi Messmer
"My husband is a 28 year veteran of the Worcester MA fire department. He was diagnosed with cancer."

While these exposures are a fact, they left out something. That is the chemicals used to make our turnout gear contain staggering amounts of the PFAS chemicals. When I say staggering, I mean at a minimum, 14,000 times the new MRL for PFOA. DuPont is one of the makers of the fabrics used in the outer shell portion of turnout gear. For years they have been immersed in every aspect of FF cancer, from funding ff cancer research, guiding student thesis’s on ‘soiled gear’ to funding FF cancer symposiums, advising us over and over to wash our gear etc., They deny ever using PFOA. They use slick language to stating ‘they never have used PFOA in the process of making PPE’. They tell us if it is there, it will be in ‘trace amounts, as a by-product of production’. Those words play on the ignorance of the fire service who does not yet understand that the PFAS chemicals used then degraded to form PFOA. And who now believe ‘trace amounts’ are not enough to harm us. The ‘short chain PFAS chemicals used now are of concern as well, but we can’t find out what is used. That’s proprietary.

Read More
Mindi Messmer
DuPont says they don't make firefighter turnout gear?

Turnout gear made with DuPont technologies combines the proven thermal protection of DuPontTMNomex® brand fiber with the durability and toughness of DuPontTM Kevlar®, the ber that’s five times stronger than steel on an equal-weight basis. Nomex® and Kevlar® provide premium protection against intense heat and flame, giving you gear that is tough and durable, yet comfortable and breathable to help guard against fatigue and heat stress. It all adds up to giving your team the flexibility to work a vehicle accident, ventilate a roof or drag a hose line, and the protection to fight a 3-alarm blaze.

Read More
Mindi Messmer