Connecticut firefighters sue manufacturers over alleged PFAS contamination in gear

June 27, 2024

“We look forward to vigorously defending our record”: DuPont responds to PFAS lawsuit

Lawsuit filed against multiple gear manufacturers

As reported by Reuters, DuPont, 3M, Honeywell, and 16 other defendants were sued on Tuesday by Connecticut firefighters who alleged their protective gear was contaminated by toxic “forever chemicals” linked to cancer.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs believe this proposed class action, filed in New Haven, Connecticut federal court, is the first to specifically target firefighter gear containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut, five other unions, and five firefighters are suing on behalf of firefighters across the state, including in cities such as Hartford and Stamford.

Health risks from PFAS in turnout gear

The plaintiffs allege that jackets, pants, and other “turnout gear” leached PFAS into firefighters through their skin, ingestion, and inhalation.

They further claim that more PFAS is absorbed as temperatures rise and sweat builds up, leading to “subclinical cellular changes in their bodies which put them at increased risk of developing adverse health conditions.”

The lawsuit seeks at least $5 million in damages for violations of Connecticut product liability law.

According to the complaint, DuPont and 3M produced the PFAS used in the protective gear, while a Honeywell subsidiary was among the gear’s sellers and failed to warn of the risks.

Manufacturers respond to the allegations

In a statement, DuPont said the lawsuit was without merit: “We look forward to vigorously defending our record of safety, health, and environmental stewardship.”

DuPont also stated that it has never manufactured PFOA and PFOS, types of PFAS allegedly present in the plaintiffs’ gear.

3M, in its statement, said that it will defend itself in court or settle “as appropriate,” noting that its handling of PFAS has evolved with changes in science, and with societal and regulatory expectations.

Honeywell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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