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New UL Laboratories Help Safeguard First Responders

UL helps support the health and safety of firefighters through the testing of chemical and biological hazards to mitigate the increased risk of cancer.

Personal Protective Equipment Chemical and Biological Protection Lab Grand Opening

March 31, 2020

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, March 31, 2020 — UL, a leading global safety science company, opens new state-of-the-art facilities in North Carolina to help fire service cleaning providers confirm compliance with the recently revised NFPA 1851 standard. This standard is designed to protect firefighters and other first responders who are exposed to chemical contaminants generated by fire. Along with testing, UL reviews required PPE maintenance information, including safe storage and cleaning procedures.

According to recent studies conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)1, firefighters experience a 9% increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14% increase in cancer-related deaths compared to cancer rates among the general population in the U.S. Firefighters’ increased exposure to harmful contaminants may be the source of the increased rate of cancer diagnoses.

The new testing capabilities in UL laboratories will help ensure the fire service’s turnout gear is being effectively cleaned by their service providers to reduce their risk of long-term exposure to harmful contaminates generated by fire.

UL’s new chemical and biological laboratories offers expanded capabilities to evaluate protective clothing in accordance with NFPA 1851, NFPA 1991, NFPA 1994 and NFPA 1971 standards.

To learn more about UL’s PPE testing and certification capabilities, visit

About UL

UL helps create a better world by applying science to solve safety, security and sustainability challenges. We empower trust by enabling the safe adoption of innovative new products and technologies. Everyone at UL shares a passion to make the world a safer place. All of our work, from independent research and standards development, to testing and certification, to providing analytical and digital solutions, helps improve global well-being. Businesses, industries, governments, regulatory authorities and the public put their trust in us so they can make smarter decisions. To learn more, visit To learn more about our non-profit activities, visit


  1. Firefighter Cancer Rates: The Facts from NIOSH Research

    Pictured above: Kristen Trawinski PPE Engineering Manager at UL, cuts ribbon at Chemical and Biological Protection Laboratories grand opening event. To Kristen’s right is Kevin Faltin, Vice President Building Materials & Systems at UL. To Kristen’s left are guest speakers of the event, Jim Reidy San Antonio Fire Department Lieutenant as well as Christina Baxter, Ph. D. CEO of Emergency Response TIPS, LLC.