“The Firefighter’s Experience” once again on the world stage as UFU achieves global ban on PFHxS
Video of speech to UN Delegates: https://vimeo.com/showcase/9586652/video/718104702
It is with great pride that we report to UFU members that, overnight, the UFUA achieved a global ban on PFHxS without exemptions at the United Nations’ Stockholm Convention.
Firefighter health and safety is at the forefront of the work of the UFU, and the goal of reducing every and all avoidable exposures to UFU members is a priority.
The work on this specific ban commenced 3 years ago and demonstrates the importance of Unions’ long-term goals for the betterment of all members and their health and safety.
Overnight, on behalf of the United Firefighters Union of Australia and hundreds of thousands of professional firefighters collectively across the United States, Canada and New Zealand, Mick Tisbury intervened at the UN’s Stockholm Convention and made a plea to the delegates to the Convention to ban PFHxS.
Since last week, UFU Delegate ACFO Mick Tisbury and UFU Victorian Branch President A/ACFO David Hamilton have been meeting with Convention delegates, arguing the importance of listing PFHxS to Annex A (ie. a global ban) without exemptions. Once marketed as the safer alternative to PFOS and PFOA, PFHxS in firefighting foams is in fact detrimental to the health of career firefighters, the community and the environment.
The journey to the 2022 Stockholm Convention: UFU achieves global ban in 2019 on PFOS and PFOA in firefighting foams
As UFU members may recall, the UFUA attended the United Nations’ Stockholm Convention in 2019 to extensively negotiate a global ban on PFOS and PFOA in firefighting foams. In 2019 the UFUA was represented by National Secretary Peter Marshall and UFU Victorian Branch delegates David Hamilton and Mick Tisbury. The UFUA was successful in its advocacy despite the enormous challenges facing the Union at the UN Convention.
Later that year, the UFU returned to the UN, this time attending the Stockholm Convention Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee. This Committee is a UN expert committee of scientists, and the aim of the UFU then was to convince the committee of the harms PFHxS causes career firefighters, the community and the environment.
On 4 October 2019, the UN Expert Committee passed a resolution in the form of a recommendation to the next Stockholm Convention for a global ban of PFHxS without exemptions. However, this was a recommendation only, and it still needed to be ratified.
Originally scheduled for 2021, the biannual Convention was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
UFU members are respectfully encouraged to take a few minutes out of their day to watch Mick’s address to the UN last night: https://vimeo.com/showcase/9586652/video/718104702
Recently joined members can also view the 2019 video in this UFU Vimeo showcase: https://vimeo.com/showcase/9586652
On behalf of all members, both retired and current serving, the UFU thanks both Mick and Dave for their tireless work in improving the occupational health and safety of UFU members.