Firefighters are greater risk of mesothelioma

31 Mar 2018 by under News

firefighters at WTC site 100x100 Firefighters are greater risk of mesotheliomaFirefighters are at a much greater risk of cancer than ever before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The reason? Houses contain material that, when on fire, can release toxic fumes and other contaminants.

Homes built before 1980 contain asbestos in old floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles and flashing, siding, insulation, pipe cement, and joint compound used on seams between sheetrock. In the late 20th century, was identified as the cause of malignant melanoma, a rare and deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs or other organs. Some newer homes may also contain , as well as plastics and synthetic materials that, when burned, release carcinogens, which are inhaled and absorbed through the skin.

When firefighters respond to a blaze, they are not only putting themselves in immediate danger, but also in long-term danger, as some of these cancers can take years or decades to surface.

According to KKCO11 News, a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicates firefighters are at a 9 percent greater risk of developing any kind of cancer, 100 percent increased risk of and 62 percent increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

As a result, many fire crews are taking action to protect themselves with special cancer barrier hoods made from special material that protects against carcinogens in the air. Many also spray each other down, clean tools and uniforms and have two sets of gear to make sure the ash doesn’t spread.

Ensuring the safety of firefighters is vitally important. Earlier this year, the State of Hawaii fined the Honolulu Fire Department for not protecting firefighters from dangerous asbestos they were exposed to during a summertime blaze at a condominium complex.


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