Firefighter study into cancer links with toxic chemicals
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.