Did you know that firefighters are some of those most at risk for developing the fatal cancer, mesothelioma? Although firefighters do not often handle asbestos - the only known cause of mesothelioma - they can be exposed when fighting fires in older homes containing asbestos materials and products.
Many people know that firefighters are battling fire and smoke when they are called to a house or structure fire, but many do not stop to think about the dangerous toxins that are released into the air. Asbestos is just one of the hazardous substances used to build homes and commercial building throughout the United States, putting firefighters at risk every time they are called to a jobsite.
It is hard to believe that workers are still exposed to asbestos while on the job. The dangerous substance was declared to be a hazard to human health in the late 1970s. Since then, use of the substance has declined, yet older construction materials and other asbestos-containing products remain potential threats to workers.
If you live in California, you might have heard about the devastating fires that have swept through the northern part of the state. The Butte and Valley fires have recently burned over 70,000 acres of land, as well as the homes and businesses of local residents. Thousands of firefighters from across the country have joined to help combat the fires and save the structures from the flames.
The attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 affected the lives of many individuals, especially those responding to the emergency. Firefighters, EMTs, and other first-responders received large doses of asbestos exposure that is continuing to affect their health today.
There are several occupations in which asbestos exposure is still a serious problem on the job. Firefighters are some of those most at risk for coming into contact with the substance while at work. But why?