ETD Tested in the Lab

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Firefighters face enough dangers;
cancer shouldn’t be one of them.

Firefighting is a dangerous job that exposes firefighters to high amounts of hazardous chemicals. Decades of studies have shown that a firefighter’s turnout gear holds on to these chemicals, exposing the wearer even after the gear has been cleaned with water. These exposures have been proven to cause a variety of cancers and other illnesses.
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Cancers of the skin, lung, and liver.
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Cancers of the lung, larynx, and mesothelioma.
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Cancers of the lung, bladder, and skin.
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1,3 Butadiene

Blood cancers.
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Lung cancer.
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Nasopharyngeal cancer.
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(gamma activity)

All cancer sites combined.
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(alpha & beta emitting)

All cancer sites combined.
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Lung cancer.
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Sulfuric acid

Laryngeal cancer.
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Lung cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sarcoma; all cancer sites combined.

Graphic showing the layers of turnout gear fabric and their variable permeability to water and liquid CO2.


While traditional water washing is effective in dislodging surface particulates, professionals in the industry have long doubted the actual effectiveness, pointing to high rates of cancer and other illnesses among retired and active firefighters as evidence.

Studies over the decades have tested the efficacy of water washing, and they’ve shown that the method has mixed results, ranging anywhere from 15% to 40% efficiency.

The issue with water-based cleaning is that firefighter PPE and other first responder gear are made to be waterproof. Therefore, water-based cleaning methods have a hard time cleaning past the surface level of the gear, leaving behind many chemicals that can cause cancer and other illnesses.

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ETD’s Liquid CO2 process is the way

Liquid CO2 washing on the other hand, scored far better. Not only did liquid CO2 meet the standard of water washing, it far surpassed it. CO2 washing was found to up to 100% of contaminants contained in firefighting gear down to undetectable levels.

The concerns of veterans in the industry were proven right. Water washing does not fully clean a firefighter’s gear; in fact, it actually leaves high amounts of hazardous chemicals on every layer of gear, contaminating each firefighter that puts it on. Liquid CO2 washing solutions like ETD’s proprietary methods are proven to work more efficiently in removing hazardous chemicals tested; while using no water, and less time and energy.

ETD has performed a multitude of tests of our CO2 based decontamination services.

View the reports below to see the results:

A technical study was conducted to evaluate two different cleaning systems and their efficiency on removing hazardous compounds from firefighter turnout gear. The reports below compare traditional water washing of firefighter PPE to CO2 cleaning by following the procedures listed in the NFPA 1851-2020 standard. The results of this study can be used by those responsible for firefighter safety to determine the best cleaning options available for firefighter turnout gear.

A technical study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of removing loose and/or residual PFAS contamination in firefighter turnout gear utilizing the ETD liquid CO2+ process. The testing process that was followed utilized the NFPA 1851-2020 testing procedures and test samples were analyzed at accredited laboratories. The results show that loose PFAS that can be absorbed, ingested, or inhaled by firefighters is removed and captured in the CO2+ decontamination process.

Firefighters face new hazards with rapid deployment and use of new green electric technologies. A technical study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of removing contamination from fires involving electric vehicle, lithium-ion battery, and other green technologies. Common products of combustion were utilized in these types of exposures and tested following NFPA 1851-2020 testing procedures. Test samples were analyzed at accredited laboratories. The results show that contamination from these lithium-ion battery and other green technology fires can be effectively removed and captured from firefighter turnout gear in the liquid CO2+ decontamination process.

CO2 cleaning does NOT adversely impact turnout gear in any meaningful way. The reports below summarize results that show no significant effects on the outer shell, moisture barrier, and thermal liner material after multiple cleanings in the CO2 cleaning systems according to NFPA 1971 UL testing.