Collins bill for volunteer firefighters continues to move through legislative process
Congressmen Chris Collins (NY-27) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) authored a bill that would require the CDC to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters, which today advanced through the Energy and Commerce Committee. This piece of legislation addresses an enormous gap in research conducted on the heath impacts of a career of firefighting. Firefighters may experience detrimental health effects due to smoke inhalation and other harmful substances, and this legislation takes a first step toward developing new protocols and safeguards for these men and women.
“Firefighters are some of the bravest among us and more needs to be done to keep them safe,” said Collins. “This legislation has the potential to lead to methods that save the lives of the courageous men and women that keep our communities safe. I’m humbled by the strong bipartisan support we have received and look forward to getting this bill on the House floor.”
“When the brave men and women in the fire services enter dangerous situations they do not stop to ask whether they are subjecting themselves to long-term health risks. They do whatever is necessary to keep our communities safe. That is why we must have their backs," Pascrell said.“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average firefighters are at higher risk for certain kinds of cancer when compared with the general population. Further public health research on this topic is needed so we can start working to find ways to alleviate this risk. That is why I am thankful Representative Collins and Pallone brought up the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act in the Energy and Commerce Committee today and look forward to passing it on the House floor.”
A 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that in the U.S. firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths. Unfortunately, this study was limited in scope by a small sample size, yet the proposed legislation would establish and improve collection infrastructure and activities to collect a greater abundance of data.
The next step for the bill to become law is the passage on the House floor. For more information on the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, clickhere. To read the text of H.R. 931, Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, click here.