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Silver Golub & Teitell Files Lawsuit for Connecticut Firefighters Over PFAS Contamination from Protective Gear

June 25, 2024

Silver Golub & Teitell LLP today filed a class action complaint on behalf of thousands of Connecticut firefighters who have been exposed to dangerous levels of toxic PFAS chemicals contained in their protective gear.

The lawsuit seeks to hold the makers and sellers of the chemicals and the protective gear, including 3M, DuPont and others, accountable for producing firefighter gear contaminated with PFAS, a known carcinogen.

The lawsuit names the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association and five firefighter unions, which represent Connecticut’s approximately 4,000 professional firefighters, and five individual firefighters as plaintiffs. It seeks class action status to represent all firefighters in Connecticut.

“While our firefighters risked their lives to protect their communities, they were knowingly being exposed to dangerous carcinogens. We must hold these companies responsible for putting profits over people and support our firefighters,” said Peter Brown of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association.

“Silver Golub & Teitell has a proud history of representing Connecticut and its citizens when the impact of national controversies is felt within the state,” said partner Ian Sloss. “Our firm has repeatedly achieved meaningful change that measurably improved the lives of Connecticut citizens through this type of litigation and hope to do so again with this case.”

According to the lawsuit, firefighters have become contaminated by absorbing toxic PFAS chemicals from their protective clothing and other equipment, known as “turnout gear,” through their skin as well as through ingestion and inhalation. As temperatures rise and firefighters sweat, more PFAS comes off the fabric, leading to increased absorption and migration of the PFAS chemicals.

“The defendants knew the equipment, materials and chemicals to be unsafe, but represented the opposite, and they failed to warn the firefighters or the public of specific, substantial risks to human health, profiting immensely from their actions,” said Jennifer Sclar, counsel at Silver Golub & Teitell, who represents the firefighters along with Mr. Sloss and associate Kate Sayed.

Perfluorinated Alkylated Substances (PFAS) are artificial chemicals that have been used in manufacturing plastics, metal coatings, clothing, furniture, adhesives and other products. They are soluble in water and persist in the environment for a long time, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.” Scientific studies have associated exposure to the chemicals with decreased fertility, low birth weight, developmental delays in children, increased risk of prostate, kidney and testicular cancer, and other adverse effects on human health.

The lawsuit, Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters of Connecticut et al. v. 3M Company et al., No. 24-cv-1101, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, is believed to be the first to exclusively target the impact of PFAS-contaminated firefighter gear.

The six unions bringing the case are the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut, the Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Association -- International Association of Fire Fighters Local 7896, the Fairfield Fire Fighters Association -- IAFF Local 1426, the Stratford Professional Fire Fighters -- IAFF Local 998, Hamden Professional Fire Fighters -- IAFF Local 2687 and The City of Groton Fire Fighters Union -- IAFF Local 1964.

The lawsuit names 3M Co., EIDP Inc., DuPont de Nemours Inc., the Chemours Company, Corteva Inc., Elevate Textiles Inc., Gentex Corp., Globe Manufacturing Company LLC, W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., Fire-Dex GW LLC, Honeywell Safety Products USA Inc.,  InterTech Group Inc., Lion Group Inc., Milliken & Company, Morning Pride Manufacturing LLC, PBI Performance Products Inc., Safety Components Fabric Technologies Inc., and StedFast USA Inc. as defendants.


Photo of Ian W. Sloss
Ian W. Sloss


Photo of Jennifer Sclar
Jennifer Sclar


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