WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today introduced the bipartisan Protecting Firefighters and Advancing State-of-the-Art Alternatives Act (PFAS Alternatives Act) along with Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06), Congressman Tom Kean (NJ-07), Congressman Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Congressman Glenn Ivey (MD-04), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-03), and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01).

“Firefighters are heroes in communities across the nation, and we owe it to them to prioritize their health and safety,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “As co-chair of both the PFAS Task Force and the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I am proud to lead this bipartisan effort to streamline the development of high-quality gear for our firefighters on the frontlines that is free of harmful ‘forever chemicals,’ further protecting them as they engage in high-risk situations to keep our families safe.”

“America’s firefighters charge into danger to save the lives of others,” said Congressman Graves. “This bipartisan legislation will help develop the next generation of firefighting gear to keep them safe—while they work to protect our families, our communities, and our country.”

“The health and safety of firefighters and those who keep our communities safe should be a priority for all of us,” said Congressman Kean. “These brave men and women risk their lives to protect us, and it is our duty to provide them with the safest possible gear. I am proud to co-lead the PFAS Alternative Act, to ensure that firefighter gear is free from harmful chemicals that pose long-term health risks. We owe it to our firefighters to prioritize their well-being and to equip them with the highest quality gear.”

“Firefighters go above and beyond day after day to save the lives of their neighbors, and it is vital that these brave community protectors are equipped with the highest quality gear to help them effectively carry out their mission,” said Congressman D’Esposito. “As ex-Chief of the Island Park Fire Department, I am particularly glad the issue of firefighter safety is being addressed through legislative action in this Congress via legislation I have co-sponsored, and I will continue to do everything in my power to safeguard my brothers and sisters in the fire service from dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ found in outdated protective gear.”

“First responders deserve first rate gear.  They put their lives on the line every day to save ours.  We must not make those who risk their lives wear even riskier equipment and handle even more dangerous materials,” said Congressman Ivey. “PFAS are directly linked to cancer.  And as a kidney cancer survivor, I know the hardship, uncertainty and fear any family would experience being exposed to cancer causing materials.  This bill will save our firefighters from this exposure and is a good way to show our appreciation to the men and women who are ready to rush into danger when others dodge it.”

“Firefighters’ jobs are already dangerous enough without worrying about the long-term health risks of being exposed to dangerous PFAS in their turnout gear,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “The PFAS Alternatives Act will remove this unnecessary occupational hazard and help protect firefighters as they work every day to protect us.”

“Firefighters put their health and safety on the line every day to protect our communities. They run in as others run out,” said Congresswoman Titus. “They shouldn't have to worry about hazardous substances in their own turnout gear. I'm working with my colleagues to support the development of next-generation gear that is more resistant to soot and other chemicals while eliminating exposure to dangerous toxins like PFAS.”

“Firefighters engage in high-risk work to keep us all safe, and we have a responsibility to do all we can to protect them,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “The PFAS Alternatives Act will speed up the development of turnout gear for firefighters that is free from dangerous PFAS chemicals and promote safer practices. I’m grateful to be working on this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues.”

The PFAS Alternatives Act would:

  • Accelerate the development of PFAS-free turnout gear through research, development, and testing of PFAS-free turnout gear materials.
  • Facilitate the development of safer turnout gear materials that reduces the dangers firefighters face, including enhanced protection against primary and secondary exposure to particulates and byproducts of combustion; reduced maintenance that includes contamination resistance and greater ease of cleaning; visible warning indicators to alert firefighters to hazardous exposures or the need for decontamination; and consideration of body composition in turnout gear design.  
  • Support guidance and training for firefighters on best practices for reducing harmful exposures through the proper wearing, cleaning, and caring for next-generation turnout gear.
  • Involve the firefighting industry in the development process by requiring grant applicants to utilize the leadership, experience, and knowledge of firefighters to ensure the next-generation turnout gear will be both effective and practical for the everyday demands of firefighting. 

The PFAS Alternatives Act would authorize $25 million annually for each of fiscal years 2024 through 2028 to support the development of new materials, and an additional $2 million annually to support guidance and training.