The United States Fire Administration has issued a statement regarding the very controversial report that was written by TriData a few weeks ago. As Wildfire Today covered on April 20, the report, which gathered information from some selected studies, discounts some links between cancer occurance and firefighters. The National League of Cities (NLC) paid TriData to complete the report. The IAFF and the IAFC think the NLC is trying to eliminate presumptive cancer legislation for firefighters.
The USFA statement is HERE, but below are some excerpts:
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has completed its review of a recently released study conducted by the TriData Division of the System Planning Corporation, analyzing firefighter presumptive cancer legislation and attempting to prove or disprove a correlation between firefighting activities and the occurrence of cancer. While this study is considered thoughtful and well-presented, its results are scientifically inconclusive, and indicate that more expansive study is in order.
Acting United States Fire Administrator Glenn A. Gaines noted, “The results of this report clearly indicate that more study and analysis is necessary. It is much too early to abandon presumptive laws and benefits for firefighters who present with cancers. To make such a quantum leap at this point in time may be premature.”
As a long time partner of all of the nation’s firefighters and fire service organizations, USFA has regularly and continually supported research efforts, specific training, and other initiatives focusing on firefighter wellness and safety issues.
“As with all truly professional disciplines, the fire service must be willing to support independent third party research and reviews of our profession as well as its actions and approaches,” said Administrator Gaines. “Just as importantly, and like other professions, we must also focus on prevention and mitigation strategies limiting exposure to toxins and carcinogens by firefighters, be they career or volunteer.”
Future research efforts in the area of firefighter cancer must recognize the myriad dangers faced by firefighters throughout our country, be it asbestos in the older factories of the east, chemical and plating plants in the Midwest, or wildland fires that occur each year throughout the country.
Any future studies must include methodologies to adequately recognize those firefighters who have already experienced legacy exposures, and must include definitive measures of the effectiveness of the improved PPE, decontamination equipment, and diesel exhaust systems placed in service over the past decade.