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Study Fails to Establish Link Between Cancer and Firefighting
Date:4/16/2009

WASHINGTON, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A study released today titled Assessing State Firefighter Cancer Presumption Laws And Current Firefighter Cancer Research, found there is inadequate scientific research to determine a link between working as a firefighter and an elevated risk of contracting cancer. In the report, researchers from TriData Corporation independently concluded there is a lack of substantive scientific evidence currently available to determine that firefighters face risks greater than the general population.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081022/NLCLOGO)

The report may be accessed here: http://www.nlc.org/ASSETS/40F46B09F9954BB09EBDB32B92800A78/Presumption%20Report%202009.pdf

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and one out of two Americans will be diagnosed with it at some point in their lives. According to the report, of the thousands of cancer studies taking place from 1995 to 2008, only 17 studies looked at firefighting as a possible risk factor in contracting cancer, and no causal relationship can be found.

Twenty-four states have enacted presumption laws that allow firefighters and emergency medical service providers who develop cancer to qualify for workers' compensation and other benefits. Presumption is a legal concept that assumes certain illnesses - in this case, cancer - are work-related and compensable without employees needing to provide proof they contracted the disease as a result of their job.

"While we depend on firefighters for the critical role they play in the safety of our cities and towns, we must evaluate this issue objectively and scientifically," said Donald J. Borut, executive director of the National League of Cities. He continued, "This study demonstrates the need for more high-level research into cancer and firefighters. States should not pass laws requiring cities to take on difficult financial burdens with no clear scientific connection between illness and occupation. We suggest that all involved - legislators, governors, cities and firefighters - review this report and consider its findings as they discuss this difficult issue."

The National League of Cities is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org.


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SOURCE National League of Cities
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