NFPA issues safety bulletin on firefighter protective hoods
Published: 02 February, 2017
It is well-documented that firefighter Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is exposed to a wide range of toxins, pathogens and other hazardous substances. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), firefighters have a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths.
Firefighter protective hoods are the most penetrable piece of clothing. They do not stop soot and chemicals from depositing on a firefighter’s neck and head – areas that are extremely vulnerable to dermal exposure.
‘NFPA has had the back of firefighters for more than 120 years,’ said Ed Conlin, Public Fire Protection division manager. ‘Given the increase in occupational cancer incidents in the fire service, we feel it is best to err on the side of caution as we await additional scientific research on PPE and learn more about the absorption of carcinogens near the forehead, jaw, neck and throat.’
The NFPA protective hood bulletin recommends that fire departments establish an overall health and safety program and establish practices for care and maintenance in accordance with NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. For additional information, visit NFPA’s PPE cleaning page.