Unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to pass the Fire­fighter Can­cer Registry Act

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Kristi Garabrandt kgarabrandt@news-her­ald. com @Kris­ti_G_1223 on Twit­ter

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.”

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