A new study released by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) finds that the mesothelioma rate for firefighters is greater than the rate for this cancer in the U.S. population as a whole, according to Occupational Health and Safety.
An incurable form of cancer, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Until the 1980s, asbestos was added to many types of building materials to improve their strength, increase their ability to deaden sound, or to help them resist heat and flames.
The NIOSH study followed more than 29,000 firefighters from three major cities and found they had higher rates of cancer than the overall U.S. population. In particular, the study found that firefighters had a mesothelioma rate two times greater than the rate in the general population, according to Occupational Health and Safety.
NIOSH noted that this is the first time a study has found an excess of mesothelioma among firefighters. The finding is noteworthy, given that asbestos exposure is a known hazard of firefighting.
When buildings made with asbestos-containing materials are engulfed by fire, asbestos fibers can be released into the air. When this happens, there is a risk that the fibers will be inhaled by firefighters, where they can lodge in the lungs and cause inflammation and scarring. Inhaled asbestos fibers may eventually lead to mesothelioma.
The NIOSH study looked at cancer history in 29,993 firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia between 1950 and 2009. The study was published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine earlier this month.
Were you or a loved one exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with mesothelioma? If so, you may be eligible for financial compensation to help with the costs of your illness. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free consultation and to learn more about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.