SCHUMER STANDS WITH NEW ROCHELLE FIREFIGHTERS AT LOCAL FIRE HOUSE TO OFFICIALLY LAUNCH MAJOR NATIONWIDE EFFORT TO CREATE FIRST-EVER NATIONAL FIREFIGHTER CANCER REGISTRY; LEGISLATION WILL LEAD TO PREVENTION OF FUTURE CANCER DIAGNOSES IN FIREFIGHTERS
New Legislation Would, For The First Time Ever, Create A National Registry That Will Help Medical Professionals More Effectively Track And Treat Firefighters With Cancer; Firefighters Are Exposed To A Range Of Harmful Toxins And May Be At Increased Cancer Risk
Senator Says Legislation Could Help Save The Lives Of Our Brave Firefighters Who Put Their Life On The Line Everyday
Schumer: Firefighters Protect Us, So We Need To Protect Them
Surrounded by dozens of local firefighters and local leaders, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched a major effort to pass legislation that would, for the time ever, establish a specialized national cancer registry to be managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During a visit to the New Rochelle Fire Department Station 1, Schumer explained that the registry would improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters – career and volunteer. Schumer said firefighters in the Hudson Valley and across the country are exposed to a range of harmful toxins and research has indicated that there may be connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers such as testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma and brain cancers.
“Our brave firefighters in Westchester and across New York are on the frontlines, risking their lives to protect our communities,” said Senator Schumer. “And now with the ubiquitous presence of complex chemicals in our furniture, clothes and goods, they are too often exposed to a caustic brew of toxins when fighting fires. That is why it so important for Congress to pass this critical legislation to establish a national voluntary firefighter cancer registry, so researchers can better track, treat – and one day prevent – the potential connections between firefighting and cancer.
Schumer explained that firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins when responding to emergency situations, often as a result of the noxious flame retardants and other chemicals that are used in everyday items, from furniture, to clothing, and to even children’s toys. Experts and scientists have repeatedly sounded the alarm on the danger of these toxic chemicals because they have been found to cause developmental delays in children from long-term exposure in addition to rare cancers in firefighters when these products burn and the toxins become airborne.
Schumer said research has indicated that there is a strong connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers, including testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma and brain cancers. However, there has never been a long-term registry put in place that could be used to track the potential connections between firefighting and incidences of cancer. Schumer therefore said a national firefighter cancer registry is needed, so experts and researchers can more effectively monitor nationwide trends and incidences of cancer among firefighters – both career and volunteer. Schumer said such a registry would help medical professionals more effectively identify and treat cancer in firefighters over the long term.
Therefore, Schumer is pushing legislation that would create this registry, which would help better protect the firefighters who safeguard citizens’ lives day in and day out. Schumer is co-sponsoring the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, S.2799, in the Senate alongside Senator Bob Menendez [D-NJ]. This bipartisan legislation was introduced by Congressman Richard Hanna in the House of Representatives. Schumer explained that this national firefighter cancer registry would be managed by the CDC and would improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters.
Specifically this national firefighter cancer registry would do the following:
- First, this registry would compile in one place the epidemiological information submitted by healthcare professionals related to cancer incidence among firefighters.
- Second, it would make anonymous data available to public health researchers so that they would have access to the comprehensive datasets that will allow them to expand this groundbreaking research.
- Third, this registry would improve our understanding of cancer incidence as the registry grows, which could potentially lead to the development of advanced safety protocols and safeguards for the firefighters on the front lines each day.
- Finally, this bill would allow for increased collaboration between the CDC and epidemiologists, public health experts, clinicians and firefighters through regular and consistent consultations to improve the effectiveness and accuracy of the registry.
Schumer was joined by New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson; New Rochelle Fire Chief Louis DiMeglio; and Peter Miley, president of the Local 273 Uniform Fire Association.
“The New Rochelle Fire Department would like to thank Senator Schumer for his unwavering support of the Fire Service and especially this important bill. A national registry would give researchers access to the kind data they need to complete an in depth study into the incidence of cancer among firefighters and what precautions firefighters can take to lower the risks. This is not just a bill for us. Our lives, our friends lives, and our families lives can benefit from this and we are thankful that the Senator takes it personally too,” said Louis DiMeglio, Chief of the New Rochelle Fire Department.
“The Uniformed Firefighters of New Rochelle applaud Senator Schumer and Members of Congress for taking this critical and necessary first-step towards the creation of a national cancer registry for firefighters that have been diagnosed with this deadly disease. The health of firefighters that put their lives on the line is a concern, especially when scientific data demonstrates a connection between firefighting and higher rates of cancer. Firefighting has changed, and so has the byproducts of the items that burn today; products burn hotter and create more harmful toxins that firefighters-even with the best equipment, are still being exposed. The UFFA thanks Senator Schumer for his continued support,” said Peter J. Miley, President of the Local 273 Uniform Fire Association.
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