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Cancer Risk Twice as High for Firefighters

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  • Cancer Risk Twice as High for Firefighters

    New York's Bravest are fighting more than just fires, according to a new study of 110,000 of firefighters worldwide that found they face up to twice the risk of dying from certain types of cancer. After analyzing statistics on 20 different kinds of cancer, University of Cincinnati researchers revealed that firefighters developed 10 of those deadly diseases more frequently than any other type of worker. The most virulent was testicular cancer, which the study found was twice as likely to affect firemen. Firefighters also faced a 53 per cent greater chance of contracting multiple myeloma, a deadly cancer that attacks bone marrow. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate cancer had also occurred at significantly higher rates in firemen than in other workers. The analysis, which included FDNY members in its sample, is to be published Monday in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Head researcher Grace LeMasters said the three-year study was prompted by research on 9/11 cancer risks. "Firefighters are exposed to numerous cancer-causing substances," LeMasters said. "I think obviously they have not got enough protection from that exposure." LeMasters, with the university's Department of Environmental Health, said protective gear for firefighters was not designed to safeguard them from toxic chemicals. "We feel that the protective gear that protects them from acute exposure, such as heat and carbon monoxide, doesn't protect them from the chemical residues that cause cancer," she said. When firefighters are sweaty on the job, she said, "the pores in their skin are open and are more likely to absorb chemical residue." LeMasters suggested a lightweight uniform be designed that would not allow chemical residues to penetrate the skin. "Nurses wear latex gloves. I am not recommending they wear latex because it's too hot, but we need some advanced material that will allow them not to get hot, but also protect them from these chemicals," she said. "We do have protective gear for soldiers and NASA astronauts, and I think if we make it a priority we can protect these firefighters. It just has not been a priority, even though firefighters are public servants and risk their lives." The study came as little surprise to local Uniformed Firefighters Association president Steve Cassidy. "It's an unbelievably dangerous job," he said. "The exposure the city's firefighters suffer in their daily workload is higher than anywhere in the country." But Cassidy said the belief that improved equipment could protect firefighters from cancer was naive. FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon said: "Never have firefighters been so personally protected with the gear they have. Bunker gear, boots, and masks - New York City firefighters, we believe, have the best equipment available."

    Hazardous job

    Firefighters face more risk than other workers in developing these cancers:

    Type Increased risk

    * Testicular cancer 102%

    * Multiple myeloma 53%

    * Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 51%

    * Skin cancer 39%

    * Brain cancer 32%

    * Prostate cancer 28%

    * Stomach cancer 22%

    * Colon cancer 21%

    The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
    ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
    NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
    343
    CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
    LT. John Ginley Engine 40
    FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
    FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
    FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
    FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
    FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
    FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
    FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40

    Charleston 9
    "If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
    *******************CLICK HERE*****************

  • #2
    Thanks for posting that, Ray.

    It's still amazing that we have Brothers and Sisters who consider filthy, dirty stinking gear to be a "badge of honor"... yeah, walking around wearing a virtual petri dish of carcinogens is cool...

    Bottom line.. after a job, it takes just a few minutes to jump in the shower and change into a clean uniform. On your days off, you can wash your gear.

    Spending a few minutes cleaning yourself and your PPE is a lot better than spending hours wretching from chemotherapy or dying from cancer.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 11-15-2006, 05:12 PM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    • #3
      No doubt, Capt. I'm pretty sure that the majority of exposure occurs not when we're masked up, but during the other 99% of the day.

      Comment


      • #4
        Which always brings me back to the topic of appropriate use of any and all PPE. But that's all I'm gonna say to that part of the topic; I think there's a flogged dead horse here in the forums regarding. And what Da Capt and SBrooks say makes only too much sense.

        But then again, too many of my stiff attitudes towards safety are army driven, I guess.
        If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

        "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

        "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

        Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

        impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

        IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
          Thanks for posting that, Ray.

          It;s still amazing that we have Brothers and Sisters who consider filthy, dirty stinking gear to be a "badge of honor"... yeah, walking around wearing a virtual petri dish of carcinogens is cool...

          Bottom line.. after a job, it takes just a few minutes to jump in the shower and change into a clean uniform. On your days off, you can wash your gear.

          Spending a few minutes cleaning yourself and your PPE is a lot better than spending hours wretching from chemotherapy or dying from cancer.
          While our gear only gets washed every 6 months...we ALWAYS take time after a job to take R&R, wash-up get the masks BIS wash the facepieces, Trucks clean their tools, etc... take a shower and put on a clean work duty uniform before going back-in-service.

          Take time...it only can benefit you and the brothers.

          FTM-PTB

          Comment


          • #6
            This story isn’t much of a surprise to me, and is an example of why our presumptive legislation is important. Wearing PPE is important, cleaning and maintaining it is even more so.
            What I would really like to know is how much of smoke, or other products of combustion absorbed through the skin.
            I would also like to know how much diesel exhaust is impacting us. Our houses all have exhaust removal systems in place, but there is no way they remove all of the exhaust. I know the kitchen is right off the apparatus floor in my house, so how much exhaust are we eating, drinking, and cooking every work day? I also know the dorm is right over the apparatus floor here, as well. Only recently have the pole holes been closed over in the dorm, how much exhaust was/is entering into the sleep area.

            These points are all secondary to the Trade Center issue. The exposures that took place there are horrific, and many guys will be permanently disabled as a result, and that is extremely sad. There should be no debate about giving these brothers their due, especially once they become ill. I can only hope that they don’t become sick as a result, but we’re already seeing that isn’t the case.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jasper45
              This story isn’t much of a surprise to me, and is an example of why our presumptive legislation is important. Wearing PPE is important, cleaning and maintaining it is even more so.
              What I would really like to know is how much of smoke, or other products of combustion absorbed through the skin.
              I would also like to know how much diesel exhaust is impacting us. Our houses all have exhaust removal systems in place, but there is no way they remove all of the exhaust. I know the kitchen is right off the apparatus floor in my house, so how much exhaust are we eating, drinking, and cooking every work day? I also know the dorm is right over the apparatus floor here, as well. Only recently have the pole holes been closed over in the dorm, how much exhaust was/is entering into the sleep area.

              These points are all secondary to the Trade Center issue. The exposures that took place there are horrific, and many guys will be permanently disabled as a result, and that is extremely sad. There should be no debate about giving these brothers their due, especially once they become ill. I can only hope that they don’t become sick as a result, but we’re already seeing that isn’t the case.
              Although our Nederman breaks down everynow and then...when operating correctly one can place the CO monitor right near the exhasust of the rig and it won't register anything...maybe a fraction for a second or two but that is it.

              This and most houses have either doors at the top and/or bottom of the pole holes. This helps as well.

              I know what you mean though...I once worked in a firehouse built circa 1960 so you can imagine how small and utilitarian it was. (built for 4 men) the Exhaust of the rig dumped right into the living quarters/kitchen every time you fired the Engine up....ugh.

              FTM-PTB

              Comment


              • #8
                I know it does nto amount to a hill of beans, but I am curious about the old firehouses that do nto have an exhaust ventilation system.

                Diesel exhaust is loaded with benzene and a bunch of other known carcinogens.

                I guess it is just my curiosity about the breakdown of things.


                The only thing that should be chunky and sooty after a fire is the ol' leather lid.

                I had wondered if anyone had ever really studied the profession much in this way. I may just have to get ahold of the study to see its references. Might be some more interesting stuff in there.
                "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

                The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

                "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

                "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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