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Updates from the front lines in the fight against occupational cancer in the fire service.


August 16, 2023

In June 2022, 25 scientists from eight countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, to finalize their evaluation of the carcinogenicity of occupational exposure as a firefighter. 

After thoroughly reviewing the available scientific literature, the Working Group classified occupational exposure as a firefighter as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), on the basis of sufficient evidence for cancer in humans.

Per FCSN President and retired Fire Chief Bryan Frieders,”The IARC finding is a significant step towards recognizing the dangers of occupational cancer in firefighters. Since 2005, we have known that the profession of firefighting causes cancer. This simply affirms our position and will enable even more opportunities to reduce the risk of cancer.”

A summary of the final evaluations has now been published online in The Lancet Oncology The detailed assessment will be published in 2023 as Volume 132 of the IARC Monographs.

Dr. Jeff Burgess, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., Associate Dean for Research for the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, FCSN Health and Wellness advisor and a working group invited specialist, said “The IARC designation that firefighting is carcinogenic is important. We need to use this determination to strengthen our efforts to prevent cancer in the fire service, continuing collaborative research to identify effective interventions.”