Ohio Firefighters Applaud New Law to Track Cancer In Their Ranks

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communications Specialist Grant Probst)
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President Trump has signed into law a bipartisan bill aimed at investigating the high cancer rate among firefighters. The president of the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters says it’s needed. 

The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act provides funding for the Centers for Disease Control to track all the fire department cancer cases in the country.  

The state of Ohio has joined more than 30 other states that have classified cancer as a work-related illness for those firefighters.   A study of Columbus found 1 in 176 residents developed cancer but 1 in 14 of the city’s fire department had the disease. 

Ohio firefighters union President Mike Taylor says firefighters are surrounded by a toxic soup of carcinogens, mainly burning chemicals and plastics.  He says it’s ironic that one notable problem is the chemical used in flame retardants.

 “I know the state of California has outlawed those types of products now being put in furniture and hopefully that will work its way across the rest of the country because they found that that is truly one of the worst things that we’re dealing with at a fire scene.”

One of the lead supporters of the Senate bill was Sherrod Brown D-Ohio.  He said it would also be helpful to protect workers from the chemicals in the first place.

“We should be doing more here to protect everybody from chemicals in the workplace and in the home. The government has sided far too often with the chemical companies. “

Cancer, noted Taylor,  is the leading cause of death among active firefighters.

In Ohio treatments are covered by the Bureau of Workers Compensation.


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