For years, firefighters, their loved ones and their doctors have been worried that their occupation puts them in long-term harm’s way — largely from lung damage and their risk of developing cancer. When building materials burn, toxic materials are released. Volatile aromatic hydrocarbons — benzene, toluene and derivatives of these compounds — are at the top of the list. Now the Lancet Oncology — Britain’s leading cancer journal — has weighed in. In an editorial recently published, they review the latest data, which are about to be published in a monograph by the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC). Click here for the link. The big surprise is the resurgence of mesothelioma as a health threat. As some of you may know, mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining cells of the lung and abdomen (pleura and peritoneum) caused by asbestos. Seen more frequently in the 60’s through 90’s because of work in shipyards related to the building of our naval fleet in WW II, mesothelioma is now vanishingly rare, since asbestos is no longer used in construction.
If any of the readers of this page wish to read the entire article and cannot access it (Lancet Oncology requires you to sign up for a free account — a mild speed bump) fill out the form on the right and ask Dr. Stark to email it to you.