Quesnel’s Fire Chief is applauding the news that the provincial government has expanded cancer coverage for fire fighters.
Two new cancers, pancreatic and thyroid, have been added.
Ron Richert says it’s a known fact that fire fighters have a greater risk of developing certain cancers due to exposure to chemicals and toxic materials, and he says it has gotten worse.
“Today’s manufacturers’ materials definitely have more toxic ingredients in them. Obviously, we do the best that we can, we have the highest quality of protective gear for our fire fighters and we try to avoid contact as best as we can, but the threat of that materials is always there.”
Richert says manufacturers have gotten away from using solid wood products.
“They often use MDF or laminent wood products with heavy glues and stuff in them which obviously give off more chemicals when they burn, so our exposure now is greater than it has been in years for sure.”
Richert says even vehicles have went from using metal to plastics in some cases.
He says today’s announcement also covers volunteers.
“Years and years ago it was only for full-time career fire fighters, but obviously cancer doesn’t determine whether you’re career or volunteer, so all the volunteers are now covered by this, same as career.”
B.C. now recognizes 18 cancers as occupational diseases for fire fighters.