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Firefighters are Getting Cancer at Higher Rates Than the General Population: Decontamination Kits Could be the First Step in Saving Them


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Firefighters can use kits to clean off their gear after responding to a fire. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Firefighters can use kits to clean off their gear after responding to a fire. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

More than 45 fire departments throughout the state have received decontamination kits that firefighters can use to clean cancer-causing substances off their skin and gear. The Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami will distribute more than 3000 additional kits in the coming weeks. The Center’s Dr. Alberto Martinez says it’s one of the tools departments can use to prevent the disease.

“There’s things you can do right away. If you can hose down hose down. Use wipes. If you can do a hood swap, do a hood swap.”

Dr. Martinez says in a preliminary registry of firefighters throughout the state with cancer, the Center found firefighters had increased risk of developing rare cancers and to be diagnosed with them at younger ages than the general population.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Health Reporter

Danielle Prieur grew up listening to her grandfather’s stories of swimming across the Detroit River from Canada and many other adventures. She’s been into storytelling ever since. She studied writing at the University of Michigan, and then taught high school writing and literature for four years before ... Read Full Bio »

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