Florida Firefighters Seek Presumptive Cancer Protection

According to OSHA, firefighters are 14 percent more likely than the general public to develop certain cancers. They want this fact recognized.

The new legislative push, as reported by The Gainesville Sun

Florida is among 13 states that have not passed a presumptive cancer law — a law recognizing that a firefighter’s disability or death from cancer is presumed to be contracted in the line of duty.

After several years of trying, a presumptive cancer bill made it through the Florida Senate in the 2017 legislative session but died in a House committee.

Toxic Mix. Modern furniture, electronics and fabrics make house fires even more carcinogenic for firefighters.

Plans are in the works to re-introduce the bill in the 2018 session, said Jim Tolley, who as president of the Florida Professional Firefighters represents 25,000 firefighters in some 130 bargaining units ranging from fewer than a dozen firefighters in tiny hamlets up to 2,000 firefighters in major metropolitan areas. SOURCE

Other studies have put the risk of certain cancers even higher for firefighters. Data is sorely lacking nationally on total numbers of of firefighters who have died or are dying from cancer. But advocates of presumptive cancer bill note that new homes are much more toxic than older homes, becase they’re full of synthetic furniture, electronics and other materials that produce extremely dangerous smoke.

The Florida legislature is expected to take up the bill in the next session. It will focus on four specific types of cancer: prostate, non-Hodgkins lymphom, testicular cancer and multiple myeloma.