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A groundbreaking new study published by environmental toxicologist Dr. Susan Shaw and co-authors provides new evidence that brominated flame retardants in burning household materials endangers the health of U.S. firefighters. It is the first study to measure brominated dioxins and furans in firefighters’ blood and shows for the first time that exposure to these chemicals during fires may carry even higher risks for cancer and other health problems than already demonstrated.
Dr. Susan Shaw, the study's lead scientist, stated, “Our study provides clear evidence that firefighters are exposed to high levels of cancer-causing chemicals including brominated flame retardants and their combustion by-products – dioxins and furans – that are formed during fires by the burning of flame-retarded foam furniture, televisions, computers and building materials. Firefighters have much higher levels and different patterns of these chemicals in their blood than the general population. There is no doubt that firefighting is a dangerous occupation. What we have shown here points to the possible link between firefighting and cancer.”
According to Dr. Shaw, the findings underscore the need for stronger regulations to protect not only firefighters but all Americans from exposure to toxic, carcinogenic chemicals in everyday consumer products.
The study, titled "Persistent Organic Pollutants including Polychlorinated and Polybrominated Dibenzo-p-dioxins and Dibenzofurans in from Northern California" and in Chemosphere, can be viewed here.