On September 12, 2017, the House unanimously approved the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931). The bill, introduced by Representatives Chris Collins (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), is intended to create a specialized national registry to provide researchers and epidemiologists with the tools and resources they need to improve research activities related to monitoring cancer incidence among firefighters.
For years studies have indicated a strong link between firefighting and an increased risk of several major cancers. This heightened risk of cancer among firefighters has been attributed to their frequent exposure to a range of harmful toxins. Unfortunately, past studies examining cancer incidence among firefighters have been limited by relatively small sample sizes and the availability of important data.
Because of this, researchers have been unable to fully examine and understand the broader epidemiological cancer trends among firefighters. H.R. 931 now goes to the Senate where the legislation has gained wide bipartisan support. If the bill turns into law it would not only require the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create and maintain a registry for firefighters diagnosed with cancer, but would also provide federal funding to help protect firefighters. Once equipped with more accurate data, better protective equipment and cancer prevention techniques for firefighters can be developed.
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