WTEN interviewed Jonah Marshall, M.D., of Capital Region Urology and St. Peter’s Hospital, for its report on St. Peter’s Health Partners’ free cancer screening for firefighters. The screening, held April 23 in Cohoes, was part of a pilot program aimed at raising awareness about the cancer risk firefighters face as a result of battling fires.
From the story:
According to officials, firefighters are exposed to hundreds of different chemicals on the job that are the byproducts of combustion from the materials that are burning. These chemicals they said could be inhaled by firefighters and can also get on their skin, in their eyes, or ingested, in addition to reusing contaminated personal protective equipment.
“Most of the products that are burning in our homes today are petroleum-based. They’re highly toxic, and even with our protective equipment, it still gets absorbed into our skin through our pores,” said Green Island Fire Station Captian Jason Geary. “Standing out in front of the smoke that’s out in the street — even doing investigations afterward, even though there’s no smoke, the products are still being off-gassed which we are inhaling. So firefighters are at a greater risk of getting cancers.”
As a result, every time men and women fight a fire, exposure to these carcinogens increases their risk for bladder, testicular, prostate, kidney, colon, lung, head, and neck cancers, as well as melanoma. Many of these chemicals are known to or suspected to cause cancer, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said is a leading cause of death among firefighters.
Click here to watch WTEN’s full report.