Read the full article by Courtney Flatt (Northwest News Network)

“A new bill in the Washington Legislature could help speed the process for state regulators to restrict toxic chemicals in firefighting gear.

‘Something we didn’t realize until it was too late is that the gear that was designed to keep us safe is actually poisoning us,’ said A.J. Johnson, legislative liaison for the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters and a firefighter in Edmonds, Washington.

Firefighters already are diagnosed with certain cancers at a higher rate than the rest of the population, according to a study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

…Research has found probable links in PFAS exposure to a variety of health issues, including high cholesterol, reproductive and development issues, and certain cancers, according to the Department of Ecology.

In 2018, Washington became the first state to ban PFAS in food packaging and firefighting foam, which is the suspected source of PFAS in Washington’s drinking water, according to the Department of Ecology.

Moreover, according to the department, unhealthy amounts of PFAS have been found in drinking water in Airway Heights, North Whidbey Island, Issaquah, and at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Even though Washington was the first state to ban several PFAS products, some lawmakers and advocates said the process to regulate other sources of PFAS would take too long.”…