Three Baltimore firefighters who say hazardous chemicals in the paint used at their firehouse caused miscarriage or infant deaths have filed a $195 million lawsuit against the Du Pont Co. and Dow Chemical Co.

The firefighters, all members of Engine Co. 1, maintain that Imron paint contained hazardous compounds known as glycol ethers, shown by scientific studies to cause damage to the reproductive systems of laboratory animals.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, alleges Du Pont was negligent by producing and distributing the paint, while Dow was liable for producing glycol ethers and selling them to Du Pont for use in Imron.

Of the children born to the firemen, one set of twins was stillborn on Jan. 1, 1982, and another set died a few days after their Sept. 11, 1983, birth. The mother of the third set of twins miscarried during the first trimester of her pregnancy in February 1982.

Du Pont removed the glycol ethers from Imron in September 1984, a year after a government study linked them to sterility and embryonic deaths in test animals. Dow stopped producing the ethyl-based ethers in 1983.

A spokesman for Du Pont denied the company was negligent in marketing the paint. A Dow spokeswoman said company officials have no comment yet because they have not been officially notified of the suit or seen a copy of it.