SCHUMER STANDS WITH ROCHESTER FIREFIGHTERS AT TRUCK 4 FIRE HOUSE TO LAUNCH A MAJOR PUSH TO CREATE FIRST-EVER NATIONAL FIREFIGHTER CANCER REGISTRY; FIREFIGHTERS’ CANCER RISK CAN BE DOUBLE THAT OF OTHERS DUE TO EXPOSURE TO TOXIC CHEMICALS—BUT NO REGISTRY TO TRACK & PREVENT CANCER IN FIREFIGHTERS HAS EVER EXISTED; THOUSANDS OF ROCHESTER FIREFIGHTERS WOULD BENEFIT
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: Our Rochester Firefighters Protect Us, So We Need To Protect Them
Surrounded by dozens of local Rochester firefighters from departments across Monroe County 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). 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 Rochester Finger Lakes region 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 Rochester and across Monroe County 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 City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, City of Rochester Fire Chief John Schreiber and dozens of firefighters from local fire departments including the City of Rochester, Ridge Road Fire District, North Greece Fire District, Gates Fire District, Brighton Fire District, Chili Fire Department, West Webster Fire Department, Northeast Joint Fire District, and others.
“A national registry of firefighters diagnosed with cancer would provide the Centers for Disease Control with better information, which would lead to better medical care for our nation’s first responders,” said Rochester Fire Chief John Schreiber. “Countless lives could be saved and many of cancers could be prevented with the scientific discoveries generated by this information. As a Fire Chief, I am dedicated to doing everything I can to protect the men and women in the fire service. This registry could be an amazing step to protect all firefighters and their families from the devastation of a cancer diagnosis.”
“America’s firefighters risk their lives every day to protect the lives and property of our nation’s citizens and visitors, and our nation’s leaders should do everything they can to protect our firefighters,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “A national registry of firefighters diagnosed with cancer would be an invaluable tool to protect our firefighters from the cancer-causing toxins that are often present at fire scenes. I applaud Senator Schumer and Congressman Hanna and all the authors of this legislation for taking this step to protect our firefighters and I urge all members of Congress to join them in support of our firefighters.”
Eddie Santiago President of the Rochester Firefighters Union IAFF Local 1071 said, “This is an issue that really hits close to home. In the last decade or so the Rochester Fire Department has had four of our active Brothers lose their battle to cancer. Although our prayers and support are with the families that is simply not enough. We need to do more. We need to take this fight nationally to tap federal resources to get the answers we need to save the lives of our Sisters and Brothers. We appreciate Senator Schumer's help to advance this much needed legislation. His efforts would help keep track of both our Active and Retired members who have contracted cancer due to their job exposure as Firefighters.”
Previous Article Next Article