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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Is There a Link Between Firefighting and Cancer? – Epidemiology in Action

Today's post is shared from
Epidemiology is the art and science of using data to answer questions about the health of groups. In occupational epidemiology, we use that data to understand how work affects health. This blog entry is part of a series that shares the stories behind the data.
Firefighters face numerous hazards in the line of duty. The risks of acute and potentially fatal injuries and stresses from the dangerous environment of a fire scene are well known. In addition to these hazards, fires generate toxic contaminants, including some agents known or suspected to cause cancer. Less is known about the potential long-term health effects firefighters may experience as a result of work-related exposures. In particular, do firefighters face a higher risk of cancer than is found in the general population?
In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) embarked on a multi-year effort to conduct a large-scale study to better understand the potential link between firefighting and cancer. The research was a joint effort led by NIOSH researchers and conducted in collaboration with researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the University of California at Davis Department of Public Health Sciences and supported, in part, by the U.S Fire Administration.
The study found that a combined population of firefighters from three large U.S. cities showed higher-than-expected rates of certain types of cancer...
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