Firefighters report that that the flame retardant chemicals used in furniture do little to retard fires, but instead add significant cancer risk to first responders and burn victims. Testifying at a June 2012 public hearing, Koy Wilson, a Stockton firefighter representing the International Association of Fire Fighters (I.A.F.F.) Burn Foundation stated :
“Firefighters face a greater cancer risk because of the job that we do. These chemicals don’t offer much fire protection — they just add to the toxic exposure faced by firefighters and the citizens we serve.”
Studies bear this out: fire fighters have significantly higher rates of four different types of cancer including: multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, prostate, and testicular cancer. These four types of cancer can all be related to exposure to dioxins and/or furans which are produced at high levels when flame retardant chemicals burn. This is why the I.A.F.F. and the California Professional Fire Fighters stand behind revising TB117 and adopting the CPSC standard.