Reducing firefighters’ exposure to toxins by cleaning uniforms right
Firefighters face an even more formidable enemy than flames and smoke inhalation: research shows they are 14% more likely than the general population to die of cancer. Their uniform is their shield – but if it’s not cleaned properly, cancer-causing toxins can build up inside the layers and threaten the firefighter’s health. Electrolux Professional has found a way to remove most contaminants, far surpassing the results of the standard washing procedure.
Whenever firefighters answer a call, they take obvious risks to keep us safe. What we might not realize is that they face a greater danger, over time, from cancer-causing toxins than they do from the flames they battle. A long-term study of firefighters in the United States showed that they are 14% more likely to die of cancer than the general population.
Firefighters’ uniforms are designed to trap volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) inside the layers of fabric and keep these toxins away from the skin. To prevent them from building up within the fabric and presenting a cumulative cancer hazard, washing the uniform properly is crucial.
Electrolux Professional has decided to tackle the problem of disease-causing substances that get trapped in firefighters’ uniforms. In tests compliant with Oeko-Tex, EU, and German GS Mark standards, the Company has found that its premium Barrier solution reduces most contaminants, offering significantly better protection than standard washing.
Eugenio Filoni, Segment Manager at Electrolux Professional, explains, “When we started to work on this project, we aimed to develop a solution to make firefighters’ work-life safer and healthier. Six years ago, following the Healthy Firefighters program in Sweden, Electrolux Professional was the first company to introduce the Barrier Concept. The idea was to help firefighters work more safely and reduce their risk of cancer. We put our Barrier Washers to the test and achieved great results: they remove most of the dirt and contaminants that get trapped in firefighters’ uniforms, offering significantly better protection than standard washing.”
The correct way to treat firefighters’ uniforms is to run them through the Barrier Washer after every use. Electrolux Professional believes this is the gold standard for removing cancer-causing VOCs and PAHs and giving firefighters and their families the peace of mind they deserve.