Firefighters more prone for cancer then other workers - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Firefighters more prone for cancer then other workers

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Fire fighting is a dangerous job and there are many hazards involved with putting out fires.

But, now a new study by the University of Cincinnati has revealed that firefighters are more than twice as likely to develop certain types of cancer.

The health risk is in the chemicals and vapors from inside the burning buildings.

"A lot of times we don't really sit around and think about it," West Frankfort Firefighter Jon Alexander said. " But when ever you see the studies like this one it definitely brings it to your attention."

The study also showed that the cancer hazards for firefighters have increased as materials inside our homes and businesses have changed over the years.

"Everything is built differently then it used to be. There's so many plastics and combustibles. All these plastics are put in all the different types of furniture and carpets," Alexander said.

Once the flames are snuffed out and the smoke has cleared the dangers for firefighter still linger, on their gear.

"We're fully covered with our gear. But we really need to wash our gear as well every time we have some times where we're going to get contaminants on our gear.We get stuff off our helmets, and that's when we can come in contact with it after the fire," Alexander said.

"I think we get a little lax where we think the fire is out, how's it going to hurt us any more? But now we're finding out it's definitely one of the most important stages to still be wearing our SCBA gear."

One of the places where you would think firefighters are the safest is actually another dangerous place, according to the study. The exhaust from their diesel fire engines can also expose them to cancer causing agents.

The UC epidemiologists found that half of the cancers studied, from testicular, prostate, brain, stomach and colon cancer to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; multiple myeloma; and malignant melenoma were associated with firefighting on varying levels for increased risks.
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