Fire Suppression & Overhaul Activities:
As one expert said, “Simply put, smoke contains a bunch of carcinogens.” Modern buildings are filled with synthetics and plastics that when combusted, give off a toxic array of dangers. Firefighters are regularly exposed to aromatic hydrocarbons as well as benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos and many other carcinogens that can become aerosolized – or converted into a fine mist that can be inhaled. Firefighters who remove their mask during the overhaul period, when a fire is mostly out, often don’t appreciate the dangers of the air quality because the harmful particles are basically invisible.
But it is not just what you breath in that can harm you. The soot that collects on a firefighter’s turnout gear and PPE is actually a vessel of cancer-causing agents that can be absorbed through the skin. This particulate matter or soot often contains compounds such as arsenic, lead and mercury – all known carcinogens.
Firefighter Cancers & Other Illnesses Tied to Firefighting:
Studies have shown that firefighters remain especially at risk for the following occupational illnesses:
- Lung Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Multiple Myeloma
- Esophageal/Pharyngeal Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Brain Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Cancer of the Intestines
- Breast Cancer
- Heart/Vascular Disease
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
In recognition of these workplace exposures, many states, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri have laws on the books which presume that certain diseases, including cancer, are job-related illnesses stemming from firefighting. These presumptions can be helpful in obtaining benefits for career firefighters, including worker’s compensation payments.
Worker’s Compensation Lawyer for Firefighters
If you are a firefighter with Diesel Exhaust cancer and you suspect that your illness is work-related, call Diesel Injury Law at 312-877-5588 and speak for free with an experienced diesel attorney.