Why do firefighters deal with mesothelioma?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2022 | Mesothelioma |

Firefighters in Georgia face many risks on the job, with some standing out as incredibly obvious. Other risks, by comparison, may catch people by surprise. For example, firefighters have a higher chance of dying from cancer than others due to their exposure to burning chemicals and toxic material.

This includes the rare form of cancer called mesothelioma. In fact, up to 70 percent of line-of-duty deaths in firefighting stem from cancer. Among all cancer-causing materials, asbestos ranks as particularly deadly.

Asbestos exposure and mesothelioma

Fire Rescue 1 looks into the ties between firefighting as an occupation and mesothelioma. As mentioned, firefighters suffer from a heightened risk compared to the average citizen.

Unfortunately, despite the well-known and documented risks of asbestos, many older buildings still contain materials that include asbestos. Even certain items used in homes can contain asbestos, like crock pots and blow dryers. Asbestos exposure can result in mesothelioma. This rare and aggressive form of cancer has only a 12 percent 5-year survival rate.

Reducing the risk of exposure

A firefighter’s personal protective equipment can help reduce the risk of coming into contact with deadly asbestos. It is also important for firefighters to wash their clothing, body, hands and protective gear quickly after leaving the scene of a fire. Do not keep this gear in the car or the home, especially in the bedroom.

Keep in mind that asbestos exposure can occur both through inhalation and also through absorption of the skin, which is why cleaning serves as a crucial step.

Though it is impossible to eliminate every risk, knowing and understanding them makes it possible to mitigate the worst of the damage.