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Posted on: June 20, 2017

Fire Department begins cancer risk reduction program

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According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Organization, firefighters are 40 percent more likely to develop skin cancer, and 30 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma, prostate, brain and rectal cancer due to exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens.

Studies show the danger doesn’t just come from inhalation of these toxic contaminants, but also from dermal absorption, which is intensified as the skin’s pours open to sweat as both internal and skin temperature increase.

The Tinley Park Fire Department has started a program to help reduce the risk of firefighters developing these aggressive cancers. By utilizing new technology and operational changes, the Cancer Risk Reduction Program will concentrate on limiting the amount of exposure that firefighters have to cancer-causing toxins and carcinogens.

The fire department also is using a new product called Rescue Wipes, which firefighters can use following work in a toxic atmosphere to remove soot and other toxins from their skin. Rescue Wipes are quick-drying and do not contain chemicals that will cause damage to the user. The don’t leave lint or residue, and don’t fall apart during use.

The program also will including training on cancer awareness, improvements in the field decontamination process, and issuing second sets of firefighting gear so contaminated clothing can properly be cleaned before reuse.

For more information or for details on how you can help with this project, please contact Fire Chief Forest Reeder at (708) 444-5200.
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