LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Unions are raising the alarm about what they call toxic chemicals linked to cancer being used in gear used by firefighters.

The International Association of Fire Fighters began legal action Thursday in Dedham, Massachusetts, to remove toxins from firefighter protective gear. It’s a conversation that started in 2022 at a convention in Las Vegas.

“This is a bigger issue than just our local, our community fire departments,” said Beau McDougall of Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. “The same turnouts that we use are used all around the country, and that’s why the IAFF, as a whole, has taken this on as a challenge.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cancer is a leading cause of death among firefighters. Research suggests firefighters are at higher risk of certain types of cancers when compared to the general population, according to the CDC.

“Our members deserve answers, the families of our fallen deserve answers, and we need to change the paradigm for the next generation of firefighters,” said Edward Kelly, IAFF general president.