PFAS is a group of chemicals known scientifically as perfluoroalkyl substances. Even more concerning, according to the CDC, is there are more than 9,000 different types. These include PFAS, PFOS, PFOA, and others. PFAS chemicals are incredibly stable both chemically and thermally. These are forever chemicals, meaning they bio-accumulate, bio-magnify, and will not degrade. These substances are in everything from carpet, furniture, camping gear, makeup, non-stick cookware, firefighting foams, fabric, and firefighting gear. These chemicals are in every living organism and virtually every body of water. As a 14-year Fire Lieutenant, I have been heavily exposed to PFAS. …


Tabuchi (2021) stated, “Over the past three decades, cancer has emerged as the leading cause of death for firefighters across the country, making up 75 percent of active-duty firefighter deaths in 2019 (para. 8). PFAS is a group of chemicals known scientifically as perfluoroalkyl substances. Even more concerning, according to the CDC, is there are more than 9,000 different types. These include PFAS, PFOS, PFOA, and others. PFAS chemicals are extremely stable both chemically and thermally. These are forever chemicals, meaning they bio-accumulate, bio-magnify, and will not degrade. These substances have been used in everything from carpet, furniture, non-stick cookware…


Brominated Flame Retardants banned in the U.S since 2004 have also remained in firefighter station wear. Brominated FR has a wide array of health effects on the human body. Exposure is associated with neurological problems, endocrine disruption, cancer, and infertility. Like PFAS, they also remain persistent in the environment. Brominated FR is so persistent that newborns born today will have Brominated FR in their bodies at birth. In the documentary “Toxic Hot Seat,” big tobacco and chemical companies colluded for the use of Brominated FR. Big tobacco didn’t want to develop a self-extinguishing cigarette to curb cigarette-caused house fires.

Consequently, this allowed big tobacco and chemical companies to open a pandora’s box of environmental and human health hazards. Fun fact, flame retardants don’t even work. The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission noted, the chemicals weren’t even effective when added to various materials.


It’s Time to Care

At what point are we as a global community step back and say something isn’t right. In July 2021 alone, we have had significant catastrophes that have taken place. I imagine even the most die-hard climate deniers have to think, “I don’t ever remember this happening.” Western Europe is flooded. Flagstaff, Arizona, is flooded. All other western U.S. states are on fire. All western U.S. lakes and waterways are historically low. To top it off, Florida has managed to kill more than 600 tons (and counting) of fish due to red tide events that are entirely…


image via iStock

In 2005, The Science Advisory Board, at the request of the EPA, gathered to conduct a peer-reviewed risk assessment of the EPA Assessment of Potential Human Health Effects Associated with Perfluorooctanoic Acid and its salts (PFAS). The request for peer-review was dated January 1st, 2005.

The EPA drafted assessment provided an extensive evaluation on all available information on the health effects and human exposure to PFOA. PFOA is one of 9252 known PFAS. The assessment also compared human blood levels with the estimated PFOA blood levels that are not anticipated to produce or produce minimal toxicity based on data from lab tests.

The Science Advisory Board panel reviewing the EPA’s study agreed that PFOA was likely to be carcinogenic (EWG, 2020). In other words, they knew of PFAS toxicity in 2005 and did nothing. Now, our bodies and communities are poisoned.


“Merino, Glen Orkney, Awatere, Marlborough, New Zealand” by In Memoriam: PhillipC is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Over the past few years, Fire Department PPE and station wear has undergone a litany of independent scientific tests. These tests have uncovered the toxicity of this fabric on the human body. From the tireless work of Dr. Graham Peaslee, Diane and Lt. Paul Cotter, Neil and Genna McMillan, Chief Sean Mitchell, Jim Burneka, Kevin Ferrara, and Kyla Bennett, we know that firefighter turnouts are some of the most heavily fluorinated textiles known to man. Meaning it contains PFAS. So much, the outer shell was more than 2% fluorine by weight. …


An Emergency Need for a Cultural Shift in Thought Process in the Fire Service

The fire service is on an unsustainable trajectory where firefighter’s safety, mental health, diversity/ inclusion need addressing. If not, we will have some tough days ahead. In many departments across the U.S, these issues are starting to leak through. It’s often hard to find the line between science and tradition. The fire service is one of those unique professions where change is ever-present and usually occurs rapidly. Yet, everyone hates change. We can pay respect to the past while continuing to progress forward. It’s time we adjust and spotlight mental health. We must focus on overall health. When we are sick, have a broken bone, or have a suspected COVID-exposure, we report and stay home. However, if our mental health needs attention, we are told to tough it out and come to work.


EWG PFAS Conference

Bryan Goodman Speech Transcript

First, I would like to thank the Environmental Working Group for inviting me to share my personal story and opinions. It’s an honor to be included amongst these accomplished speakers. Today, I will be representing myself and not any department or municipality. My name is Bryan Goodman. I’m a 14-year Fire Lieutenant. I spent 11 years at some of the busiest houses in the nation. As a firefighter, I have been heavily exposed to PFAS. This exposure has led to my infertility.

I’ve had an occupational exposure 33% of the year, every year…


Leading is mobilizing a group of individuals and guiding them in the achievement of a common goal. To resolve conflicts, listen, be levelheaded, and communicate respectfully. In a time of conflict, you should always talk through the issue at hand. Listen to the other side and express your position and reasoning for that position. In a fast-paced environment, it can be tough to achieve objectives. You must slow yourself down and take the necessary time to think things through. Do not make hasty decisions. Be disciplined. Focus on the essential objectives and work down from there. …

Bryan Goodman

Husband, Author, Firefighter, Advocate Against PFAS

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