Unanimous decision to pass the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Firefighter Cancer Registry Act on May 10.
The bipartisan legislation will require a register to be created and maintained by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention to collect data on cancer incidences among firefighters.
According to the International Association of Firefighters, “The bill’s passage in the Senate brings it one step closer to being the first-of-itskind national cancer registry specifically for firefighters.”
In a May 17 new release, Brown, D-Ohio, noted that, “The data collected by the registry will be used with existing state data to better assess and prevent cancer among firefighters.
Studies by numerous organizations are now showing that cancer has become the No. 1 killer of firefighters.
The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which was introduced Feb. 15, 2017, follows on the heels of other laws signed into effect to protect firefighters in their battle against cancer.
One such law is the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act, which was signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Jan. 4, 2017. This law considers certain types of cancer to be a presumed occupational illness incurred while performing the duties required for a firefighter’s job. This now allows firefighters diagnosed with cancer and who meet the set qualifications to file a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Additionally, according to Brown’s media release, “The bill will require the CDC to develop a strategy to maximize participation, develop guidance for state agencies, encourage inclusion among participants and to seek feedback from nonfederal experts. The CDC would also be required to ensure the data collected is made public and accessible for research.”
If the bill is signed into law, $2.5 million in federal funds would be appropriated to the CDC for the fiscal years 20182022.
The bill, which received a unanimous vote from the House on Sept. 12, was amended by the Senate before its passage there.
The amended bill will now go back to the House for final passage.
It’s noted in Brown’s media release that he is urging the House to act in taking up the Firefighter Registry Act, so it can be signed into law.
“Ohio firefighters put their lives on the line every day,” Brown said. “We should use all of the tools at our disposal when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment of first responders who sacrifice their own safety to protect others. I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this legislation, so that we can get this bill to the president’s desk.”