U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to create a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease.
Firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins, and research has indicated that there is a strong connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers such as testicular, stomach, brain and multiple myeloma.
“Each and every day, firefighters across the nation are putting their lives at risk to protect ours,” Daines stated. “While we cannot thank them enough for their courage and heroic duties, we must take action and protect them to the best of our abilities when their lives are on the line.”
“Montana firefighters keep our families, our property, and our communities safe every day,” Tester said. “This bill will help us identify health risks and track critical data so we can better protect our first responders as they put their lives on the front line.”
Joel Fassbinder President Montana State Council of Professional Fire Fighters & Montana State Firemen’s Association: “The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act is the next important tool in helping to understand the link between fire fighting and cancer. America’s first responders put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities and their citizens safe. We owe them this opportunity to spur new research leading to better prevention and treatment.”
The registry would improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters – career and volunteer. Specifically, the registry would:
- Store and consolidate epidemiological information submitted by healthcare professionals related to cancer incidence among firefighters
- Make de-identified data available to public health researchers to provide them with robust and comprehensive datasets to expand groundbreaking research
- Improve our understanding of cancer incidence and could potentially lead to the development of more sophisticated safety protocols and safeguards as more data is collected
- To ensure the effectiveness of the registry by requiring its administrators would be required to consult regularly with epidemiologists, public health experts, clinicians, and firefighters.
The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would monitor and study the relationship between career-long exposure to dangerous fumes and toxins and the incidence of cancer in firefighters to determine if there is a link, and to develop better protective gear and prevention techniques.
The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act has strong support from several major fire organizations, including the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the International Fire Services Training Association.