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Fire Fighters and Cancer Risks

Fire fighters are exposed every day to harsh toxins and chemicals that increase their risk for contracting some form of cancer. This emotional video, which features Boston, Massachusetts fire fighters, is a sobering reminder of the dangers of working in the fire service.

Occupational carcinogens include diesel exhaust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos and various combustion byproducts found in smoke. Exposures can occur through inhalation of smoke or diesel exhaust, and skin exposure can occur through contaminated personal protective equipment and turnout gear.

Remember these tips to help reduce your overall risk of exposure: 

Shower after returning from a fire

Use SCBA during overhaul activities

Perform gross field decontamination of PPE to remove as much soot and particulates as possible

Clean your PPE (i.e., gloves, hood and helmet) after a fire

Store PPE in dedicated storage areas and not in living quarters

Stay safe!

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