It was recently pointed out by Billy Goldfeder, SHS Section Chair and author of the Secret List that because of exposure, firefighters have a higher risk of getting cancer. It is important that firefighters become more educated and more aware of their increased risk in order to protect their health and well-being. This occupation has health risks that need to be taken seriously. A recent article was written in the Winnipeg Free Press about this increased risk. You can read the article here:

You can also read more on Firefighter Close Calls (

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I think this is a he said she said kind of contest. A battle of the experts. If you have enough money you can find a person to back your claim. Perhaps the IAFC can work to get a bonifide firefighter cancer study by a reknown organization that will tell us the truth. I am refering to the National Institute of Health.

Carcinogens have already been identified. So have certain life trends. Because cancer can come at you from so many directions it is very difficult to point to one source and blame it. certainly exposure to knoiwn toxins has to be considered and taday's construction materials are known to realse carcinogenic toxins when they burn.

How that can be discounted is beyond me.

Gary McGinnis
There can be no doubt regarding the presumptive nature of the firefighter environment. For more info on this please visit the Fire Fighter Cancer Support Network at We must stay united on this issue. It is believed by some that Ca will be the #1 LODD within the next 5 years......stay vigilant and do your part to protect yourself as much as possible.
It is about $$ I think.....not much more...
I agree Ed- I think cancer will surpass cardiac. It will be an interesting case study.
We currently have 4 active firefighters with different types of cancer. All 4 are under the age of 45. We need to educate our firefighters on how to know if and when they get cancer on what to do. It is a financial and emotional challenge when they are first diagnosed. The fire department's need to have a network to assist in this for the families. We save lives everyday, let's save our OWN!

All department's need a better accountability of firefighters for car fires, house fires, hazmat calls, etc. I recommend each firefighter to keep a personal journal of dates and times of exposure, PPM levels, etc. An attorney said this would help in court for proving the cancer is job related. We all have some type of FRMS system for incident reports, lets add it to that?
Michelle, you are right.....doc is key. We at TFD take readings for PPM CO and it is doc'd on report to prove we removed SCBA if below 10ppm.
Also, if your folks have not been introduced to the Firefigher Cancer Support Network, you can contact at
These folks really have it together and can help a lot.
I suspect that eventual research will prove valuable to our profession. I also believe we as officers and line personnel can do much to help the cause, protect ourselves, our sisters and brothers. One place we may start wearing our protective gear. Another is by demanding our exposure, time exposed, and conditions of exposure be logged, tracked, and recorded in our personal health history. The technology exists, (can be as simple as an employee health file) we simply do not put a priority on it. Will this eliminate the threat? I doubt it. But it will provide documentation for better studies and establish an employee exposure record for the day when you may have to fight for workmans compensation to cover the cost of your treatment.


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