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WHO Reclassifies Firefighting As High Cancer Risk Occupation

The World Health Organization has reclassified firefighting to its highest level of occupational risk for cancer after extensive research confirmed an alarming level of malignant mesothelioma incidence.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health | NIOSH

Cancer caused 66 percent of the career firefighter line-of-duty deaths from 2002 to 2019, according to data from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

Cancer caused 70 percent of the line-of-duty deaths for career firefighters in 2016. Firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population, according to research by the CDC/National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH).

In 2013, NIOSH researchers reported a two-fold excess of malignant mesothelioma, a very rare cancer. Put another way, firefighters have a 100 percent increased risk (100 percent = double = 2 times) of getting mesothelioma. Firefighters have a 129 percent increased risk of dying from mesothelioma.

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