Not all workplace injuries happen at one particular moment in time. Many take months or even years to develop. Some of these slowly developing injuries are far more serious than those that occur suddenly, and many of them can even be lethal. Despite their severity, the gradual nature of these injuries makes them more difficult to obtain workers’ compensation for them.
One example that is becoming more and more prominent is the increased risk for cancer that firefighters face.
A Fire’s Hidden Danger: Chemicals
Everyone knows that there are great risks to being a firefighter. Their job is to rush into burning buildings to make sure that everyone has gotten out, and help put out the flames to keep the fire from spreading.
However, one danger that is often overlooked is the potential for dangerous chemicals to be in the air during a fire. Many people intentionally store a wide assortment of chemicals that can get in the air during a blaze and cause harm to those in the area. Even if there are no harmful chemicals being stored in a building, mold and other bacteria can grow, as well.
Burning Chemicals Can Cause Cancer
When these chemicals or forms of bacteria catch fire in a blaze, they can hurt anyone who comes into contact with them. While the danger is at its worst when someone has an open wound that allows the dangerous substance straight into their bloodstream, breathing the chemicals in can cause harm, as well. Even just skin contact can let the harmful chemical in through your skin pores.
Once inside, this concoction of toxins can cause a variety of cancers, especially to people who are exposed to them more than once.
Firefighters Face Heightened Risk of Cancer
Firefighters are one group of people who get exposed to this danger more than others do. Now, recent studies are finding just how bad the prognosis has become.
When compared to other members of the general public, firefighters have a 9% higher chance of being diagnosed with cancer, and a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer.
This outlook is especially bleak for certain types of cancer. For example, firefighters are twice as likely as other people to develop mesothelioma, and 2.29 times as likely to die from that disease. They also have 2.02 times the normal risk of developing testicular cancer, 1.53 times the normal risk of developing multiple myeloma, and 1.51 times the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
While firefighters are generally protected by strong workers’ compensation schemes because of the public nature of their jobs and exceptionally dangerous occupations, they exemplify the dangers of work hazards that develop slowly. Many other occupations also have these latent dangers that cause life-threatening injuries, but in a way that makes it difficult to trace to a workplace incident.
If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt on the job, you need the workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph. Contact us online or call us at (816) 875-9373.