As someone who earns a paycheck working as an Illinois firefighter, you are probably well-versed in the immediate risks that often accompany your line of work, and you probably take strides to protect yourself to the fullest extent possible. At Menges Law Firm, we recognize that, while some of the threats facing today’s firefighters are immediate, others develop over time, and one of the more serious risks you face when you work as a firefighter for an extended period is the risk of developing mesothelioma.
Per FireRescue1, mesothelioma is a relatively rare type of cancer that can develop when you undergo prolonged exposure to asbestos, which is a material that was, at one point, commonly used in home construction efforts and the production of certain goods. While legislators banned the use of asbestos in construction efforts in 1989, many buildings constructed before this time have asbestos within them, and when these buildings burn and firefighters enter them, they face serious exposure risks.
In fact, a study involving 30,000 career firefighters showed that firefighters develop malignant mesothelioma at twice the rate of the rest of the population. Furthermore, other statistics show that, when you work as a firefighter, you are 14% more likely to die from cancer than the rest of the general population.
Given the risks involved with working around asbestos, is there anything you can do to help increase your safety? For starters, you should always wear personal protective equipment when on the job, and you should always launder this equipment as promptly and thoroughly as possible. You should also avoid keeping this equipment in a car or your residence, where it could potentially cross-contaminate other goods or areas. You can find more about mesothelioma on our webpage.