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Laws help address exposure to carcinogens by firefighters

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2019 | Workplace Illness |

Getting up and going to work is a fairly routine task for those in Ohio and elsewhere. While some workers may be heading to an office, others are going to a more dangerous work environment. When a workplace presents more hazards, a worker is exposed to more risks. Take firefighters, for example. This career holds many risks, which includes interacting with fire and smoke. Overtime, these dangers in the work environment could present health risks.

Being diagnosed with throat cancer is a terrifying and shocking event. It is also a puzzling event when the three main causes, smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco and drinking excessively, do not apply to you. However, for those working as a firefighter, this diagnosis is likely job-related.

When firefighters go in to put out a fire, they do not automatically think that what is on fire could cause them additional harm, despite their safety gear. Certain items can release carcinogens when on fire, causing a person to be exposed to harmful chemicals and toxic gases on top of smoke.

Based on current research and data, firefighters are diagnosed with and die from cancer at a higher rate when compared to the general population. Research found that there is an elevated risk for certain cancers for this profession. And, the correlation between firefighting and on-the-job exposure to carcinogens and the subsequent cause of cancer is concerning enough that policy makers in 42 states and Washington D.C. have laws designed to specifically help firefighters who have developed job-related cancer.

Whether it occurs while employed or during retirement, a workplace illness can significantly impact an individual. It is important to consider ways to address this, such as seeking workers’ compensation.