NIOSH Study Finds Higher Mesothelioma Rates for Firefighters

The danger to firefighters doesn’t end when the fire is extinguished, according to a new government study.

The study by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) followed nearly 30,000 firefighters and found they had higher rates of cancer than the U.S. population, according to Occupational Health and Safety. In particular, the study found that firefighters were twice as likely to develop mesothelioma.

An incurable form of cancer, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.

For much of the 20th century, many building materials — roofing, floor tiles, and plaster, to name a few — were made with asbestos. Asbestos was added to these materials in order to improve their strength, increase their ability to deaden sound, or help them to resist heat and flames.

When buildings containing asbestos catch fire, surfaces crack or are broken by firefighters. When that occurs asbestos fibers can be released into the air. At such times, there is a risk that the fibers will be inhaled by firefighters. Inhaled asbestos fibers may eventually lead to mesothelioma.

The NIOSH study is not the first to link firefighters to mesothelioma. However, this study followed a larger number of firefighters over a longer period than previous studies. NIOSH researchers looked at cancer history in 29,993 firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia between 1950 and 2009.

If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Call Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation.