By Philip Newman
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has launched an effort to establish a national firefighter cancer registry which he said would benefit untold thousands of firefighters who have a higher than normal cancer risk because they are exposed to a range of harmful toxins while fighting fires.
No such national registry has ever existed, Schumer said. He and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) are sponsoring the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which they said would be managed by the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC would concern itself with collection and activities related to the monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters.
Schumer said the firefighter cancer registry would do the following:
1. Compile in one place the epidemiological information submitted by health-care professionals
related to cancer among firefighters.
2. Make anonymous data available to public health researchers so they would have access to the comprehensive data sets that will allow them to expand this groundbreaking research.
3. This registry would improve our understanding of cancer incidence as the registry grows, which could potentially lead to development of advanced safety protocols and safeguards for firefighters.
4. This bill will allow for increased collaboration between the CDC and epidemiologists to improve effectiveness and accuracy of the registry.