Tester's Firefighter Cancer Registry Bill Moves Forward
Senator's Legislation Aims to Protect Firefighters from Deadly Disease
(U.S. Senate) - The U.S. Senate is taking a step toward protecting Montana firefighters from cancer by advancing U.S. Senator Jon Tester's bill.
The Senate today passed Tester's Firefighter Cancer Registry Act as an amendment to a larger health and human services funding agreement.
Tester's bill would create a national registry studying potential links between firefighting and cancer among career and volunteer firefighters.
"Firefighters risk their lives to keep our families and communities safe," said Tester, who sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. "This registry will help us learn more about the lasting effects of firefighting, so we can identify health risks and better keep our firefighters safe in the field."
Firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins, and research has indicated there is a strong connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers such as testicular, stomach, brain and multiple myeloma.
The registry would improve collection tools and allow doctors and scientists to monitor and study the relationship between exposure to dangerous fumes and toxins and the incidence of cancer in firefighters. This data will help determine if there is a link, so experts can develop better protective gear and prevention techniques.
The Senate is expected to take a final vote on the funding agreement this week.
Tester's bill was originally introduced as a standalone bipartisan bill in 2017.