Fire­fighter study into can­cer links with toxic chem­i­cals

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS -

A STUDY into links be­tween fire­fight­ing, con­tam­i­nants and can­cer will be com­pleted in the next few days as part of a cam­paign aimed at chang­ing the law.

The Fire Bri­gades Union (FBU) and the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Lancashire are con­duct­ing the re­search to es­tab­lish any links be­tween fire­fight­ing and a host of dis­eases.

The project aims to un­der­stand how fire­men and women en­counter con­tam­i­nants and how pro­tec­tive equip­ment is used.

Ev­ery fire con­tains a mix­ture of toxic chem­i­cals and the FBU says re­search sug­gests fire­fight­ers are more likely to de­velop can­cer and other ill­nesses.

When fire­fight­ers in coun­tries in­clud­ing parts of the United States, Canada and Aus­tralia de­velop can­cer, the disease is au­to­mat­i­cally pre­sumed to be linked to their ex­po­sure to con­tam­i­nants through their work, said the FBU.

Gen­eral sec­re­tary Matt Wrack said: “Trag­i­cally it is com­mon­place to hear about fire­fight­ers or for­mer fire­fight­ers suf­fer­ing from can­cer and other ill­nesses.

“In many other parts of the world this is pre­sumed in leg­is­la­tion to be linked to the toxic con­tam­i­nants they en­counter as fire­fight­ers, but in the UK that’s not the case.

“We need UK-based ev­i­dence that fire­fight­ing can cause se­ri­ous longterm health dam­age so that we can at­tempt to min­imise con­tam­i­na­tion.

“We need to fig­ure out what’s go­ing wrong with cur­rent de­con­tam­i­na­tion prac­tices to stop peo­ple from get­ting ill in the first place. Fire­fight­ers risk their own safety ev­ery day as it is they shouldn’t carry that risk for the rest of their lives.”

The sur­vey ends on Jan­uary 5.

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