Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today in reintroducing the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, legislation that would create a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease. Firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins, and research has indicated that there is a strong connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers such as testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma and brain cancers.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line each and every time they are called on to protect civilians from dangerous fires, making them susceptible to multiple health complications, including cancer,” said Rubio. “I am proud to support a bill that aims to prevent and protect firefighters from deadly diseases.”
“Firefighters risk their lives and health every time they answer the bell. And it’s not just smoke and flames they have to worry about, but dangerous fumes and toxins, in some cases known carcinogens, released during a fire that pose additional risks for the men and women who so bravely charge-in to ensure our safety,” said Menendez. “By studying, quantifying and understanding the risks of cancer for firefighters, it is my sincere hope that we can develop better ways of protecting them and preventing cancer.”
“This is an issue that hits close to home, because we have seen firsthand in Alaska firefighters not only diagnosed with, but lose their battle with, cancer directly linked to exposure on the job. We must do what we can to address cancer rates among our firefighters—true heroes who put everything on the line for our safety,” said Murkowski. “This critical legislation will enable us to look at the data and determine the best possible response to the increased risk of cancer among firefighters. I am proud to support some of the bravest men and women in our communities.”
“Firefighters across Minnesota and our country sacrifice their safety each day for others in their community. The very least we can do is help protect their health through improved research into the links between their work and occurrences of deadly diseases like cancer,” said Klobuchar. “The establishment of a national cancer registry is an important step forward in helping our brave firefighters in their fight against this disease.
The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-MN), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Jon Tester (D-MT).
The registry would improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters – career and volunteer. Specifically, the registry would:
- Store and consolidate epidemiological information submitted by healthcare professionals related to cancer incidence among firefighters
- Make de-identified data available to public health researchers to provide them with robust and comprehensive datasets to expand groundbreaking research
- Improve our understanding of cancer incidence and could potentially lead to the development of more sophisticated safety protocols and safeguards as more data is collected
- To ensure the effectiveness of the registry, its administrators would be required to consult regularly with epidemiologists, public health experts, clinicians, and firefighters