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At Greater Risk of Cancer, Firefighters Rely on Decontamination Kits

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Flickr Creative Commons
The Florida Channel
Firefighters are at greater risk for cancer because of the chemicals they come in contact with. New decontamination kits are being distributed in the state to help reduce that risk.

More than 45 fire departments throughout the state have received decontamination kits that firefighters can use to clean cancer-causing substances off their skin and gear. 

The Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami will distribute more than 3000 additional kits in the coming weeks.

The Center’s Dr. Alberto Martinez says it’s one of the tools departments can use to prevent the disease.

“There’s things you can do right away," Martinez said. "If you can hose down, hose down. Use wipes. If you can do a hood swap, do a hood swap.”

Dr. Martinez says in a preliminary registry of firefighters throughout the state with cancer, the Center found firefighters had increased risk of developing rare cancers and to be diagnosed with them at younger ages than the general population.