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Bauer’s firefighter PFAS testing bill receives ceremonial signing from Governor

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House Enrolled Act 1219, authored by State Rep. Maureen Bauer (D-South Bend), received a ceremonial signing from Gov. Eric Holcomb today after being passed by both chambers last month. HEA 1219 establishes a pilot program under the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to monitor the levels of toxic, man-made per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) in the blood of 1,000 former and current Hoosier firefighters.

Firefighters are exposed to these chemicals while on the job, which is in their turnout gear and in the AFFF firefighting foam used to put out the most severe fires. These chemicals have been linked to a number of adverse health effects, including certain cancers. The leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service is cancer.

Bauer offered the following statement after the signing:

“From signing House Enrolled Act 1219 into law, to leading the way on PFAS foam collection efforts across the state, Gov. Eric Holcomb has shown that he is committed to reducing workplace hazards for firefighters. As my community of South Bend continues to mourn the loss of several firefighters to occupational cancer in recent years, the PFAS testing pilot program will finally give firefighters a tool to know their own cancer risk early on and help prevent future late-stage diagnoses. I am grateful to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the Professional Firefighter Union of Indiana, the South Bend Fire Department and South Bend Firefighters Local 362 for championing this bill through the legislative process, as it now becomes law in Indiana.”

Bauer was joined by family members of recently deceased South Bend firefighters Josh Comeau and Mike Brown; South Bend Fire Chief Carl Buchanon; Indiana Department of Homeland Security Director Joel Thacker; Professional Fire Fighters Union of Indiana President Tony Murray, Vice President Mike Whited and Assistant Tom Hanify; Fishers Fire; South Bend Firefighters Local 362 President Christian Rose and Vice President Eric Griffin; and Berkeley Ramsey, of the Market Street Group representing the Indiana Fire Chiefs Association.

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