NIOSH Study Confirms Firefighters' Higher Cancer Risk

"California has the largest statewide cancer registry in the country," NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, M.D., said. "This focused study generates novel findings for firefighters of various race and ethnicities and strengthens the body of evidence to support the association between firefighting and several specific cancers."

A new NIOSH study evaluating firefighters in the statewide California Cancer Registry found they had increased risks for several major cancers, and that black and Hispanic firefighters had increased risks for more types of cancer than white firefighters. For the purposes of the study, only adult male subjects were included. The study identified 3,996 male firefighters with cancer.

The agency notes that firefighting is considered one of the most hazardous occupations and involves regular exposure to known carcinogens. This study used data from 1988-2007 and found firefighters have increased risks for several cancers, including melanoma, acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma, and cancers of the esophagus, prostate, brain, and kidney. Black and Hispanic firefighters, unlike white firefighters, also had increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, and cancers of the tongue, testis, and bladder.

"California has the largest statewide cancer registry in the country," NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, M.D., said. "This focused study generates novel findings for firefighters of various race and ethnicities and strengthens the body of evidence to support the association between firefighting and several specific cancers."

The study is available online from the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. It included more firefighters with cancer than any previous study, allowing the authors to assess the association between firefighters and the development of 32 different cancers in all firefighters combined, and also in firefighters of various races and ethnicities. Fourteen of the 32 cancers assessed had significantly elevated risks in one or more firefighter groups.

For access to a copy of the study, visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22466/abstract. For more information on the health and safety of firefighters, visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/firefighters/.

According to NIOSH, most studies of firefighter cancer risks were conducted prior to 1990 and do not reflect risks today's building materials.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark CP

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue