Don't Let South Carolina Be LAST in a Cancer Presumptive Law!
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Firefighters and Cancer
Firefighting is a dangerous profession, and a growing body of research and data shows the contributions that job-related exposures have in chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently undertook two large studies focused on firefighter cancer and concluded that firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the U.S.
Campaign for Fire Service Contamination Control
It is well understood that firefighters are exposed to contaminants, those contaminants soil firefighter PPE, and the soiled PPE cross-contaminates everything it comes in contact with. As a consequence, turnout clothing is being cleaned more frequently; however, it is still not known if current or new cleaning procedures adequately remove such contaminants from PPE.
The NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation's project, "Validation of Cleaning Procedures for Fire Fighter Personal Protective Equipment" is borne out of concerns from the fire service stakeholder community for contamination that may adversely impact long term health and wellness. The fundamental questions being asked are “How clean is clean?” and “How do I know my gear is clean?”
On July 7, 2018, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931) was was signed by the president and became public law. This bill requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a voluntary registry of firefighters to collect history and occupational information that can be linked to existing data in state cancer registries. The registry must be used to improve monitoring of cancer among firefighters and to collect and publish epidemiological information regarding cancer among firefighters. H.R. 931 was introduced on February 7, 2017 by U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) and 186 co-sponsors.
SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATION
Currently, South Carolina only recognizes Heart and Lung Disease for Professional Firefighters. In North America, only two states are left without a Cancer Presumption Act (South Carolina, Delaware) this also includes provinces in Canada.
We need to pass a Cancer Presumptive Act in South Carolina! Don't let us be last! Firefighters are risking their lives everyday along with dying everyday from occupational cancers. While we know this bill isn't perfect, it is a start to getting our firefighters protected in the means of cancer. Currently, other bills will come after the cancer bill is passed that include an infectious disease act along with a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder act.
Statistics: In the Southeast (FLA, NC, SC, GA, TENN, PR) of the United States, LODD deaths totaled 18 in 2018.
-10 were Occupational Cancer Deaths (55%)
-4 were Cardiac Related Deaths (22%)
-3 were PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) (16%)
-1 was Undetermined (.5%)
We are asking our community to call local legislators to sign on to co-sponsor Legislative Bill 4147.
You can search local legislators by clicking the yellow button.