One of the most terrifying diagnoses a Tennessee worker can receive is that of malignant mesothelioma. The deadly, slow-moving form of cancer is found in those who work in particular industries, such as shipyards, power plants and auto manufacturing. Many who learned they had the fatal illness sought financial compensation through mass torts. Recently, another industry has made the list of jobs at high-risk for asbestos exposure.
A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health suggests that firefighters have a higher risk of fatal forms of cancer than most people. In addition to digestive, respiratory and oral cancers, firefighters have significantly more mesothelioma diagnoses than the general public. This may be because of the asbestos that is released in the air when certain construction materials burn.
What used to be seen as a badge of honor is now considered life-threatening. Firefighters proudly wore the dirt and grime from a fire on their faces, hands and uniforms, but now fire stations are taking precautions to wash carefully after a fire and to thoroughly clean their fire gear after each call. The hope is that a new generation of firefighters will not face the extreme risk of cancer and other deadly diseases of past generations.
As the research continues into the exact reasons for the elevated levels of mesothelioma and other cancers among firefighters, those in any high-risk industry in Tennessee may wonder what to do if they receive the dreaded news of a cancer diagnosis. Certainly, with incurable mesothelioma, they want to ensure their families will be well provided for. With the assistance of an attorney who has experience in mass torts, they may work toward achieving that goal.
Source: toledoblade.com, "Toledo firefighters participate in cancer study", Allison Reamer, Dec. 14, 2017