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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

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 is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.
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