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NIOSH asking firefighters to share health data for cancer research

firefighter using radio
Photo: AlenaPaulus/iStockphoto

UPDATE: The National Firefighter Registry is now live.

Washington — NIOSH is looking for participants for a soon-to-launch registry intended to aid research on understanding and preventing firefighters’ risk of cancer.

Announced Jan. 3 in recognition of Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month, the National Firefighter Registry will be used to collect health- and work-related data from active and former firefighters. NIOSH will then match that information with state cancer registries to support and advance the agency’s understanding of cancer risk in the U.S. fire service.

Firefighters face a higher risk of cancer than the general public, according to NIOSH, because of exposures to smoke, hazardous chemicals and hazardous substances in fire settings. According to the International Association of Fire Fighters, nearly 75% of the names added to its Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial last year were members who died from job-related cancer. 


NIOSH encourages all U.S. firefighters – with or without cancer and regardless of years of service – to enroll in the registry via a secure web portal.

“This includes active and retired firefighters; career, paid-on-call and volunteer firefighters; structural firefighters; wildland firefighters; instructors; fire investigators; and other members of the fire service,” NIOSH says. “The more firefighters who join the NFR, the more questions we will be able to answer, and the more evidence we can gather to support protocols and safeguards to protect the health and well-being of the nation’s fire service.”

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