WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is encouraging Ohioans to submit their input on implementation of his Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create and maintain a voluntary registry to collect data on cancer incidence among firefighters. The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is asking for input on how to encourage more than 1.1 million U.S. firefighters’ participation in the registry. The data collected by the registry will be evaluated along with existing state data to better assess and prevent cancer among firefighters. The enrollment process for the cancer registry is set to begin next year. Ohioans interested in offering their input have until May 28, 2019 to submit their comments to the Federal Register, and can do so here.
In addition to establishing the voluntary registry, Brown’s bill requires the CDC to develop a strategy to maximize participation, develop guidance for state agencies, encourage inclusion among participants and to seek feedback from nonfederal experts. The CDC would also be required to ensure the data collected is made public and accessible for research. In September, President Trump signed a spending package that included $1 million in funds to implement Brown’s Firefighter Cancer Registry Act.
“While the rest of us run from danger, firefighters run toward it,” said Brown. “And when they rush into the flames they’re not just putting their lives on the line – even firefighters who come home safely face long-term health risks. We know this is just a first step and there’s a lot more work to do to protect our first responders. This is an important step toward getting the Firefighter Cancer Registry set up and running.”
Brown met with Northeast Ohio firefighters in September at the Western Reserve Fire Museum and Education Center in Cleveland to discuss his bipartisan bill. And in July, Brown joined Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters President Mike Taylor on a news conference call as President Trump signed Brown’s legislation into law. President Taylor joined the call to discuss why the voluntary cancer registry is an important tool for firefighters as experts work to assess and prevent cancer among firefighters.
The legislation has support from several major fire organizations, including the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and the International Fire Services Training Association.