PICKAWAY – Firewipes are a firefighter aid specifically formulated and designed to aid in the removal of potential carcinogenic contaminants from exposure to hazardous environments, will now be available to all firefighters in the Box 65 area, thanks to a donation from Clearcreek Township fire. These wipes remove those contaminations at the scene reducing the risks of carcinogens and chemicals remaining on the skin for extended periods of time.
The threat of getting burned by roaring flames is an obvious danger of firefighting, but other health risks are more subtle. For example, firefighters have been found to develop cancer at higher rates than the general population. Now researchers have measured how much firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens and other harmful compounds increases when fighting fires. The burning of wood, plastics, furniture, electronics and other building materials releases hazardous substances, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), into the air. Exposure to PAHs is of particular concern as the compounds can cause DNA mutations and are known carcinogens.
The researchers collected samples of urine and wiped the skin and clothing of more than two dozen firefighters in Ottawa before and after they responded to fires in 2015 and 2016. On average, post-fire levels of PAH metabolites in urine were 2.9 to 5.3 times higher than pre-fire levels.
Dylan Wamsley president of the Clearcreek firefighters association and firefighter said, ” All the departments around here we rely on each other heavily, not one person or one department can do it all. Box 65 is there for us when we need them they offer support for us firefighters so we felt that we needed to give back to them.”