The NIST released a new report in January 16, 2024 concerning PFAS in firefighting turnout gear. The report responds to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The first report shows a baseline by defining the type, concentration, and prevalence of PFAS in textiles used for new and unused Firefighter’s jackets and pants. In this report, NIST presents the measurements of PFAS in the same jacket and pants textiles. It uses the same PFAS analyte list as in TN 2248, after subjecting these fabrics to physical stress.

Old Turnout Gear Contains More PFAS

Researchers found Textiles used in the construction of structural firefighter turnout gear have PFAS. Moreover, the research shows older and used turnout gear has higher concentrations of PFAS compared to new gear. Researchers continue to investigate the source of these elevated PFAS concentrations.

Turnout Gear Study Methods

This research seeks to figure out if the stresses met during typical use of turnout gear textiles contribute to higher PFAS concentrations. Researchers studied and reported the concentrations of PFAS in twenty firefighter turnout gear textiles. They exposed the gear to abrasion, elevated temperature, laundering, or weathering.

Study Finds More PFAS in Stressed Gear

Researchers compared concentrations in unstressed firefighter gear to the stressed gear. They found PFAS concentrations in all textile types were higher following abrasion, However, they also found they were similar or lower following laundering. PFAS concentrations were higher in outer shell textiles after exposure to elevated temperature and weathering. For example, new gear consists of median summed PFAS concentrations of 1430 µg/kg. Tests of the gear after stress showed the following:

In sum, the research suggests physical stress contributes to altered PFAS concentrations in turnout gear.


This turnout gear study helps to explain one pathway of PFAS exposure to firefighters. This research adds to the body of evidence showing the firefighters sustain extensive exposure to PFAS performing their job. Research shows that firefighter exposure to PFAS causes cancer, including kidney and testicular cancers. Firefighters continue to file lawsuits to seek settlements to compensate them for their injuries caused by exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam and turnout gear. Firefighters have filed thousands of lawsuits against turnout gear manufacturers for causing cancer.

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