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Firefighters Denied Coverage by Veterans Affairs After Exposure to PFAS Firefighting Foam – PFAS Exchange Silent Spring Institute Northeastern University--Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute Michigan State University Toxics Action Center Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Testing for PEASE

Firefighters Denied Coverage by Veterans Affairs After Exposure to PFAS Firefighting Foam

WHEN KEVIN FERRARA was starting out in the Air Force in 1991, he and his fellow firefighters developed a method for cooling each other down. His training at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois involved repeatedly putting jet fuel and other chemicals and debris into a pit, setting them on fire, and then putting the flames out with firefighting foam known as AFFF. Ferrara and the other members of the fire crew became unbearably hot as they stood around the fiery pit. For relief, they would cover each other with foam.

“As we’re spraying each other, the substance would find its way under our collars and the cuffs of our sleeves. It would penetrate through the weak points of our suits,” Ferrara remembered. The sudsy foam did cool them down. Now, years later, Ferrara and many other civilian and military firefighters who were exposed to firefighting foam that contained the industrial chemicals known as PFAS are developing health problems that they believe are related to those occupational exposures. And despite ample evidence connecting PFAS exposure to multiple diseases, many are finding it difficult to convince others of the connection. Read more…