Research on Cancer Incidence in Firefighting
“Firefighting is a dangerous profession, and a growing body of research and data shows the contributions that job-related exposures have in chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently undertook two large studies focused on firefighter cancer and concluded that firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the U.S.”
International Association of Firefighters – Cancer Leading Cause of Death Among Firefighters
“A report shows while 30 years ago firefighters were mostly diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers, now many are faced with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma; thought to be the case because firefighters are now fighting different types of blazes and can be exposed to harmful chemicals. In 2010 the Centers for Disease Control tracked nearly 30,000 firefighters across the country and found higher rates of cancer than in the general population.”
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Findings from a Study of Cancer among U.S. Fire Fighters
“This study provides further evidence that fire fighters are at increased risk of certain types of cancer as a result of occupational exposure. Raised awareness and exposure prevention efforts are cost-effective means to reduce occupational cancer risk. Thus, the fire service should increase efforts to educate members about safe work practices. This includes proper training, proper use of protective clothing, and proper use of approved respiratory protection during all phases of fire fighting.”
National Center for Biotechnology Information – Cancer incidence and mortality among firefighters
“We included 50 papers in the review and 48 in the meta-analysis. We found significantly elevated SIREs for cancer of the colon (1.14; CI 1.06 to 1.21), rectum (1.09; CI 1.00 to 1.20), prostate (1.15; CI 1.05 to 1.27), testis (1.34; CI 1.08 to 1.68), bladder (1.12; CI 1.04 to 1.21), thyroid (1.22; CI 1.01 to 1.48), pleura (1.60; CI 1.09 to 2.34), and for malignant melanoma (1.21; CI 1.02 to 1.45). We found significant SMREs of 1.36 (1.18 to 1.57) and 1.42 (1.05 to 1.90) for rectal cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, respectively. Considering the significantly elevated risk of some cancers in this occupational group, we suggest improving preventive measures and securing adequate and relevant medical attention for this group.”
“Car accidents, medical calls, rescues and fires keep Boston firefighters busy round-the-clock. But while they are equipped with state-of-the-art apparatus and protective clothing, what’s killing them is a danger they often can’t see: cancer. Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn called it an “epidemic.” “We’re seeing a lot of younger members in their 40s, early 40s, who’ve got 20 years on the job, who are developing these cancers at a very young age,” Finn told NBC News.
“You may notice Albany firefighters will be dressed a little differently when they arrive to a fire. It’s part of the new Clean Cab initiative that was created to help save their lives. The men and women who rush into burning buildings to save us from fires are now dying from cancer at an alarming rate. Toxic gases seep through their gear and equipment into their skin. The Albany Fire Department launched a new initiative to try and save the lives of their first responders. “Cancer is running rapid in the fire service,” said Deputy Fire Chief Sebon Burns.
Arizona Public Media – Tuscon Fire, US Work to Reduce Firefighter Exposure to Cancer
“Burning buildings, collapsing roofs and temperatures reaching toward 1,000 degrees are some of the life-threatening conditions that firefighters encounter on the job. But one of the greatest risks to firefighters’ health is one that can’t be seen: cancer. That’s why the Tucson Fire Department partnered with the University of Arizona College of Public Health to take action against the silent killer by improving the protective gear firefighters wear. According to a 2016 study from the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, firefighters die from cancer-related illnesses at a 14 percent higher rate than the general public.
National Safety Council – Bill to Create Firefighter Cancer Registry Becomes Law
“NIOSH research shows that nearly 30,000 firefighters who were involved in a study between 2010 and 2015 had higher rates of certain cancers – digestive, oral, respiratory and urinary – than the general population. In addition, firefighters had nearly twice as many cases of malignant mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer triggered by asbestos exposure. Researchers also found that the number of firefighters younger than 65 who had bladder or prostate cancer was more than expected.”