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Firefighters face a heightened risk of work-related cancer

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Working as a Connecticut firefighter is rewarding, but it is also a career that comes with many health risks. In addition to the dangers you face fighting fires, you also face a heightened risk of developing work-related cancer when you make your living as this type of public servant.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, a growing number of studies have shown a clear link between working as a firefighter and developing cancer. Research shows that you face a 9% higher chance than the rest of the population of developing cancer when you work as a firefighter. You are also 14% more likely than your non-firefighting peers to die from cancer.

Understanding the role of personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment helps you stay safe when fighting fires. However, historically, some firefighters have been hesitant to use it. In some cases, this occurred because some firefighters felt they were tough enough to fight blazes without the use of protective gear.

Understanding risks associated with soiled PPE

Even if you always use PPE on the job, you face health risks if you fail to clean it properly. Toxic chemicals, pathogens and other harmful substances may build up on PPE. There is a high risk for cross-contamination if you touch your PPE and then touch your face or something else.

The firefighting industry has long suffered because of a lack of established methods and protocols for cleaning PPE. The results of a three-year study intended to identify contaminants commonly found on PPE and the most effective methods of removing them should help firefighters and firefighting operations minimize the harmful effects of PPE and reduce the prevalence of work-related cancer in the industry.