Why do firefighters develop cancer at higher rates?

Some residents of New York may be unaware that a worker can fall ill due to the chemicals and dangerous substances that he or she is exposure to through the course of their employment. In some instances, this occupation exposure can lead to deadly cancer that can cut the life of a hard worker short. These cancers do not immediately present themselves in all cases, but workers that become ill due to occupational exposure can see financial compensation with the assistance of an attorney skilled in matters regarding workers' compensation.

Firefighters are heralded as heroes in New York. Many young children look up to such men and women, hoping to one day similarly help people. If we asked some of these young admirers what they thought were the biggest safety risks for firefighters, the children would likely shout out answers of fire, smoke, and burning buildings or houses. However, there could be a more insidious, less obvious risk factor making many firefighters ill in New York: the flame retardant chemicals meant to protect their safety.

Firefighters are prone to higher rates of cancer, but researchers are exploring new possibilities regarding what causes this increased health risk. The chemicals used in the flame retardants are found in the blood of firefighters at levels three times higher than the rate of the general population, which is concerning as more evidence is indicating that these chemicals could be detrimental to the health of humans and animals. The link between the chemicals and cancer is not yet definitive, so more research is being conducted.

A study in Albany will examine around 300 firefighters, looking at their blood in an effort to discern if there are clinical conditions that could lead to cancer. If the study results indicate a link between these chemicals and cancer, it is possible legislation could be enacted to regulate the chemicals. In the meantime, fire stations are looking to take preventive measures in order to mitigate any possible risk so as to preserve the health of more of New York's heroes.


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