Cancer among firefighters is a prominent topic of concern inside and outside firehouses throughout the nation. There is no way to eliminate carcinogen exposure in firefighting, but simple steps can be taken to limit exposure to these harmful compounds.

Study: Proper Decontamination Can Reduce Cancer Risk

study by the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Environmental Health uncovered that simply using water to rinse off gear was not cutting it when it came to keeping equipment clean and free from harmful substances.

“When structure fires occur, furnishings and other synthetic household materials emit toxic fumes and have the potential to lead to serious health impact,” said Tiina Reponen, PhD, a professor of environmental health at UC.

While many fire departments try to at least rinse off gear, the study did not show water-only cleaning to significantly reduce contaminants such as carcinogens. Simply using soap and water was far more effective at lowering carcinogens and other harmful materials from the gear of firefighters featured in the study. However, not all detergents are created equally. Therefore, it is essential to use NFPA-compliant products and follow all NFPA guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

Laundering PPE Makes an Impact

The simplest, most cost-effective way to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals is to launder gear and other firefighters’ equipment properly. At Clarey’s, we offer a wide variety of products that aid in protecting firefighters and keeping gear clean, including:

We have all the tools you need to reduce exposure to carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a demo.