a female firefighter

Oregon's Expanded Cancer Presumption Law Takes Effect

Signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski last March, the law added 12 types of cancer to existing firefighter presumptions for employment-caused occupational diseases under workers' comp.

A new law signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski last March has added 12 types of cancer to existing firefighter presumptions for employment-caused occupational diseases under the Oregon workers' comp system. HB 2420 added brain cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, testicular cancer, throat or mouth cancer, rectal cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and prostate cancer to the presumptions for employment-caused diseases for workers' compensation. However, it applies only to non-volunteer firefighters who receive wages or other compensation from a political division or subdivision.

The law took effect Jan. 1. The governor had signed the bill on March 16, 2009. It had passed the state House on a 58-1 vote and the state Senate on a 29-1 vote. The law requires that the presumption be made by cities that provide a separate disability and retirement system and limits compensation to cancers that are first diagnosed by a physician after July 1, 2009.

Cancer presumption became controversial early last year when a report issued for the National League of Cities questioned the science behind cancer presumption laws in 24 states at that time. The International Association of Fire Chiefs shot back that the study's methodology was flawed, and the authors issued a revised report in April 2009. The revisions corrected typos and added information; they did not alter the initial conclusions in the report, NLC Media Relations Manager Gregory Minchak said Monday.

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