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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York


House Unanimously Passes Donovan Cosponsored Bill To Improve Firefighter Health

September 13, 2017
Press Release
Legislation creates specialized database to study the high incidence of cancer among firefighters; Data will help develop new safeguards, equipment, and protocols to better protect first responders while on the job

Washington, DC—September 13, 2017.... Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today announced that the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill focuses on saving lives by establishing a specialized database to study the high incidence of cancer among firefighters. Donovan introduced the Rep. Collins-sponsored legislation as an original cosponsor.

Congressman Donovan said, “The FDNY and firefighters across the nation are on the frontlines, risking their lives each day to protect our families and communities.  By collecting, studying, and quantifying the risks of cancers for firefighters through this legislation, we will be better able to develop new and innovative ways of protecting them in the field. These courageous men and women don’t think twice about running into smoke filled houses and hazardous environments, and I will never stop advocating for policies that improve their lives.”

Specifically, the legislation requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a voluntary registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. This will allow researchers to better understand the impacts of smoke inhalation and other occupational hazards on firefighter health to help determine new safeguards, equipment, and protocols that can better protect first responders while on the job.

Firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins and dangerous fumes when responding to emergency situations, which put them at a higher risk for health problems. A recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety found that firefighters in the U.S. had a greater number of diagnoses and deaths for certain types of cancers, including digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers, when compared to the general public.

More than 3,400 FDNY members live on Staten Island and South Brooklyn.

The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration.

Supporting the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act is part of Donovan’s continued commitment to improve medical care and services for first responders who bravely serve our communities. During Donovan’s first year in Congress, he led the fight to secure a permanent extension of the World Trade Center Health Program, which ensures that 9/11 first responders, including many FDNY and NYPD members, who are now suffering illnesses related to their work at Ground Zero have access to health screenings and treatments.