Today, the Montreal Firefighters Association made a notice calling for an “immediate and major upgrade in the list of cancers recognized as occupational diseases.”
“Over the last few years, and notably over the last five years, the spread of cancers has become a pandemic within the Montreal Firefighters Department (SIM),” according to the statement.
According to Association President Chris Ross, 32 Montreal Firefighters have died of cancer in the last 5 years. Illnesses that are officially caused by contaminated exposures at work and are covered by the CNESST.
The documented cases that are contributed to the too-long list of firefighters affected by this complicated occupational cancer are even more striking.
As a result, the Montreal Firefighters Association has initiated a comprehensive public awareness campaign about the malignancies’ various hazards. “Cancer is a true epidemic in the fire service: it is, in various forms, the major cause of mortality in service among Montreal firefighters, and it is the same across Canada,” Mr. Ross continued, adding that this scenario is only likely to worsen over time due to the prevalence of plastics, structural components as numerous as they are diversely used during modern construction, as well as in the production of residential and business furniture, that also, in turn, is only likely to worsen over time due to the prevalence of plastics, composite materials as
Toxic gases emerge as a result of combustion, and firefighters are invariably exposed to the toxicity of a million known or undiscovered compounds that cause cancer.
Because January has been designated as Montreal Firefighters Cancer Month, the Montreal Firefighters are raising awareness about the dangers of cancers, especially those of the brain, bladder, and kidney, as well as colorectal cancer, leukemia, and non-lymphoma, Hodgkin’s among both men and women, during this month and beyond. This will be accomplished by fostering larger in-house talks in the stations and adopting multi-lateral preventative methods that go beyond excellent hygiene practices and include the use of SCBAs (respirators) and personal protection equipment (PPE).
The NPA also hopes to collaborate closely with the employer to ensure that proper resources and decontamination standards are followed.
The union leader went on to say that the awareness campaign will be built around three pillars: prevention, early detection of cancers, and, if necessary, compensation, which has been made easier by legislation establishing an assumption that certain cancers, as well as other illnesses contracted by firefighters with that amount of years of constant on-the-job work, are work-related.
“We will facilitate and inspire precautionary detection via availability to cancer screening at a younger age than other workers, due to the obvious increased level of risk evidenced in firefighters,” Ross said, conveying his belief that the famed list of 9 various cancers scientifically proven and recognised by law to be work-related in firefighters can validly be expanded in the name of common decency as well as fairness in the workplace. “Public safety is important, as well as time is money in many occupations; yet, time is tied to respect for life in our field,” Mr. Ross said.
“It does not account for the fact that many members are diagnosed [with cancer] as well as recover or live for many years before passing away.” “We likely have 30-40 people diagnosed with cancer in any given year,” he says.
The promotion of the organization will promote and encourage prevention through safety measures such as suitable PPE as well as sanitary precautions, early diagnosis through cancer screening at a younger age, as well as compensation where necessary.
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