In 2022, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organisation body, reported that firefighting is a 'cancer risk occupation' due to the cocktail of carcinogens such as benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and toluene, released in almost all fires. These carcinogens must be removed from firefighters’ clothing and equipment to reduce the risk of cancer. Firefighters are up to 40% more likely to contract cancers and lung, vascular and heart diseases than is typical in their demographic.
Science and real-life usage are already proving that an effective cleaning and decontamination process for turnout gear, clothing, and equipment is vital in keeping firefighters safe from increased risk of cancer, lung cancer, and other cardiovascular diseases. Using higher-temperature water washing, proven detergents and correct machine programming from the leading experts in the sector to remove most PAH (carcinogenic) substances from the equipment means better health outcomes.
Scandecon by Vimpex can offer systems working around a proven protocol for decontamination, bringing H20 and CO2 cleaning methods together with specialist detergents and laundry rooms set up to deliver the best possible protection to firefighters. Clothing and equipment are placed into soluble or washable bags and then loaded into washing machines with specialist detergents and controlled programmes to be H20 washed to ensure reliable and consistent removal of harmful substances before CO2 washing removes even more carcinogenic contaminants: the low surface tension of CO2 allows it to reach deeply into suits and flush through membranes.
Using the correct detergents is a vital part of the process. Hundreds of fire departments across Europe use Lejon Kemi detergents that are specifically formulated for decontaminating firefighting clothing and equipment. Independent laboratory analysis shows that Lejon detergents produce excellent results, removing up to 95% of cancer-causing contaminants and outperforming its competitors in wash tests for soft clothing and hard materials such as face masks and helmets.
Vimpex Scandecon can offer users Professional equipment with a full range of PPE washers and washing machines, including barrier machines, drying equipment, and all accessories. Barrier washers optimise laundry processes with dirty garments loaded on one side of the machine while the clean laundry is safely unloaded in a separate clean area. Effective drying is vital to ensure complete performance post-cleaning, so drying cabinets control heat and humidity to protect impregnated clothing. PPE washers wash, decontaminate, and sanitise PPE, including masks, helmets, boots and hoses, effectively removing oily substances, gas residue, toxins, and other hazardous substances.
SiOx, the original inventors of CO2 washing systems, is also a Vimpex Scandecon partner. Data suggests that CO2 washing - as a supplement to conventional H20 washing – can remove more contaminants, particularly carcinogenic-harbouring oil and grease, polyaromatic compounds and non-water-soluble elements. This is particularly effective when clothes are washed at lower temperatures – around 40⁰C.
Scandecon is a holistic decontamination offering, not confined to clothing and wearable items. Werma, Europe's leading hose-cleaning machine manufacturer, is also an integral part of the Scandecon range. Werma's machinery unwinds, scrubs, cleans, tests, and dries fire hoses ready for the next deployment, continuously cleaning up to 14 hose lengths per hour to EN standards.
Scandecon works in partnership to deliver effective and efficient decontamination systems. From site surveys, technical advice, installation, commissioning and maintenance, Scandecon offers a truly turnkey laundry set-up service, ready for hand-over to laundry operators, PPE contract providers or fire services wishing to operate their own decontamination facilities.
Scandecon is a partnership of Europe's leading PPE decontamination experts.