Carper, Coons Commend Bipartisan Passage of Amendment Establishing Firefighter Cancer Registry Act

Senators Carper and Coons joined 48 of their Senate colleagues in co-sponsoring the unanimously passed amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper, Co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) are commending their Senate colleagues for the bipartisan and unanimous passage of an amendment to establish the Firefighter Cancer Registry. The amendment, included in the Labor Health and Human Services FY19 appropriation bill being considered this week, calls on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to monitor and study the relationship between career-long exposure to dangerous fumes and toxins and the diagnosis of cancer in firefighters, and to develop better protective gear and prevention techniques.

Recent wildfires plaguing our West Coast remind us of the important sacrifices firefighters make every day,” said Senator Carper. “During a major disaster or other kinds of emergencies, firefighters respond to help those who cannot help themselves. This summer alone, our First State firefighters have been deployed to California, Idaho, Montana and Colorado – one blaze after another, they have risked their lives and answered calls to assist communities throughout the United States. This amendment is an important step in improving the overall health of those who answer that call.”

In addition to the risks they face simply doing their jobs, firefighters also have an increased risk of contracting different cancers, said Senator Coons. “I co-sponsored the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017 to help ensure that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors cancer incidence among firefighters, and I was proud to join Senator Carper in supporting this amendment to provide $1 million to establish the Registry. I’m grateful to all of Delaware’s firefighters for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe, and I am hopeful that this funding will help develop safeguards to protect them.

A 2015 study of cancer in firefighters by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that firefighters are more likely to be both be diagnosed and die from cancer than the general U.S. population. This legislation seeks to help long-term costs of disability and workers’ comp claims and improve the treatment of cancers among firefighters through a national firefighter cancer registry at the CDC.

The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act has strong support from several major fire organizations, including the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the International Fire Services Training Association.

In addition to Senators Carper and Coons, this amendment was cosponsored by Senators Collins (R-Maine), King (I-Maine), Menendez (D-N.J.), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rubio (R-Fla.), Booker (D-N.J.), Markey (D-Mass.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Daines (R-Mont.), Schumer (D-N.Y.), McCain (R-Ariz.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tester (D-Mont.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Blunt (R-Mo.), Brown (D-Ohio), Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cardin (D-Md.), Casey (D-Pa.), Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Donnelly (D-Ind.), Duckworth (D-Ill.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Feinstein (D-Calif.), Fischer (R-Neb.), Hassan (D-N.H.), Heinrich (D-N.M) Hirono (D-Hawaii), Kaine (D-Va.), Leahy (D-Vt.), McCaskill (D-Mo.), Merkley (D-Ore) Murphy (D-Conn.), Murray (D-Wash.), Nelson (D-Fla.), Peters (D-Mich.), Reed (D-R.I.), Sanders (I-Vt.), Schatz (D-Hawaii), Shaheen (D-N.H.), Smith (D-Minn.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), Van Hollen (D-Md.), Warren (D-Mass.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Young (R-Ind.).

Full text of the amendment can be found here