Murkowski Introduces Legislation to Create Firefighter Cancer Registry

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has joined with Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to introduce S. 2799, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act. The bill creates a voluntary national database of firefighters diagnosed with the life-threatening disease. Research suggests that throughout their career, firefighters are exposed to harmful toxins which create an increased risk for several major cancers. The legislation would establish a central registry to collect data and improve research activities on incidents of cancer among firefighters. The legislation has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, of which Senator Murkowski is a member.

“This is an issue that hits close to home, because we have seen firsthand in Alaska firefighters not only diagnosed with, but lose their battle with, cancer directly linked to exposure on the job. We must do what we can to address cancer rates among our firefighters—true heroes who put everything on the line for our safety,” said Senator Murkowski. “This critical legislation will enable us to look at the data and determine the best possible response to the increased risk of cancer among firefighters. I am proud to support some of the bravest men and women in our communities.”

The registry, managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would:

  • Store and consolidate epidemiological information submitted by healthcare professionals related to cancer incidence among firefighters.
  • Make de-identified data available to public health researchers to provide them with robust and comprehensive datasets to expand groundbreaking research.
  • Improve understanding of cancer incidence and could potentially lead to the development of more sophisticated safety protocols and safeguards as more data is collected.
  • Require its administrators to consult regularly with epidemiologists, public health experts, clinicians, and firefighters.

The Menendez-Murkowski bill currently has 14 co-sponsors. It has strong support from several major fire organizations such as the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and the International Fire Services Training Association.

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