Fall River firefighters hope new apparel will put dent in high rates of cancer



Photo courtesy of Jason Burns

Firefighters risk their lives fighting fires and providing aid to the community. Cancer causing chemicals also cause a risk to their lives. A new piece of clothing is hoping to help change that.

Jason Burns, who is the current District 8 Vice President at Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and is the former head of the Fall River Fire Department Union announced this morning that the membership of IAFF L-1314 Fall River Firefighters is receiving the Defender Briefs from 9 Alarm Apparel.

“These particulate blocking briefs are designed to protect firefighters from toxic, cancer-causing particles.”

Statistics provided by Burns concerning cancer rates among firefighters is staggering.

“Our hope is that these briefs will help make a dent in the rates at which firefighters are diagnosed with testicular and prostate cancer. In comparison to the general public, firefighters are at 2.02x greater risk for testicular cancer and 1.28x greater risk for prostate cancer. (100%=2x).”

Every member is receiving 2 sets courtesy of a grant the department acquired from the Last Call Foundation in Memory of Fallen Firefighter Michael Kennedy.

In May of 2022 Attorney General Maura Healey sued manufacturers of poly- and perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) “forever” chemicals used in firefighting foam. Chemicals in fire department gear has also been a health issue for firefighters.

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