Fire Retardants – IAFF Message

It has been known for quite some time that the fire retardants used on furniture etc. could cause cancer and have an impact not only on the everyday user but maybe even more so on firefighters who are exposed during fires. Yesterday the Government of Canada announced a comprehensive plan with regards to chemical flame retardants.

National Institutes of Health – Fire Retardants

See below for the announcement.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Subject: A Message from IAFF Canada

Attention Canadian affiliates:

Today, the Government of Canada made an important announcement regarding the issue of chemical flame retardants. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu and Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (B.C.) and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North – Seymour announced a comprehensive action plan to address harmful chemical flame retardants to protect the health and safety of firefighters. The action plan includes the following initiatives: Ban harmful chemical flame retardants; Support the development and use of safe flame retardants, including less harmful alternatives to chemical flame retardants in household products; Conduct research and monitoring to assess levels of exposure; Identify practices for firefighters to reduce harm, such as improvements to personal protective equipment; and share information and raise awareness. This issue was first raised at the IAFF’s Canadian Legislative Conference in 2007, where delegates called for a complete ban on all classes of toxic chemical flame retardants in upholstered furniture whether manufactured or imported as firefighters are exposed to higher concentrations of these chemicals in a combusted state in the course of our duties. The IAFF Canadian Office would like to acknowledge the hard work of the District of North Vancouver Local 1183, and the BCPFFA to help facilitate this important announcement.

Complete details, as well as a video stream of the announcement, can be accessed at the following link:

Video of announcement:

We encourage you to share this with your membership. 

Thank you,

Scott Marks
IAFF Assistant to the General President for Canadian Operations