By Allison Reamer, The Blade
Toledo firefighters are participating in a study to better understand the relationship between firefighting and cancer while department leaders evaluate their own practices in an effort to better protect their own from long-term negative health consequences.
The study, conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, is part of a wider effort to see how fighting fires physically impacts firefighters’ health. In addition to participating in the upcoming study, Toledo firefighters are taking steps — such as washing turnout gear after every fire or requiring hand washing before restroom use after a call — that will hopefully make a big difference.
“For us older guys who have been around a while, we can’t take back the things we’ve already done. We just have to get better on this point forward and move on and keep getting better. That’s why this study is going to be so huge because the new people coming on will benefit from this,” Toledo Fire Department Capt. Matt Brixey said.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 2010 began a multi-year analysis of nearly 30,000 firefighters who served in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Completed in 2015, the study suggested firefighters have higher rates of certain types of cancer — and cancer-related deaths — than the general population. Digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers proved particularly problematic, the study found.
Read the full story here.
Image: Kurt Steiss, The Blade