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Fall River firefighters among plaintiffs in lawsuit stating toxic chemicals in gear made them sick



BOSTON, MA – February 15, 2022 – Bernheim Kelley, LLC, filed a products liability lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of 14 Massachusetts firefighters in the United States District Court of Massachusetts against 28 manufacturing companies, including 3M Company, DuPont, Chemguard and Tyco Fire Products.

The firefighters allege their turnout gear (protective clothing) contained toxic human-made forever chemicals known as PFAS, to resist and repel oil, heat and water. According to Bernheim Kelley, LLC, PFAS chemicals have been associated with cancer, tumors, liver damage, immune system and endocrine disorders, thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis. PFAS exposure to humans can occur through inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact.

According to Walter Kelley, Managing Attorney of the firm’s Massachusetts office, “Scientists believe the toxic chemicals in the outer shell and moisture barrier of turnouts can off-gas and degrade into microscopic toxic dust particles that can be absorbed into the skin through sweat or be inhaled.”

The Firefighter Plaintiffs in this lawsuit served the cities and towns of Worcester, Norwood, Brockton, Fall River and Boston as firefighters and worked in various fire stations, engine, truck, and specialized companies throughout the State of Massachusetts for decades.

Bernheim Kelley says that the firefighters all had significantly elevated levels of PFAS in their blood and were diagnosed with cancers (prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) after many years of being exposed to PFAS chemicals in their turnout gear.

“Sadly, it is too late to prevent the harm that too many brave firefighters across the country have been forced to needlessly endure from the equipment they thought was protecting them.

It is time to hold the manufacturers and distributors of these cancer-causing chemicals fully accountable to injured firefighters and effectuate meaningful change in the chemical industry that will protect future generations of firefighters,” noted Kelley.

The law firm is providing free claim evaluations for firefighters across the United States who have been diagnosed with cancer and suspect it might be related to PFAS exposure from their turnout gear and/or firefighting foam.

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