Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell & Collins’ Firefighter Cancer Registry Bill Advances in Subcommittee

Jun 29, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Chris Collins (R-NY) released the following statements on the passage of H.R.931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, which has 166 bipartisan cosponsors, in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. The bill would create a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with this deadly disease. The creation of this registry would enable researchers to study the relationship between firefighters’ exposure to dangerous fumes and harmful toxins and the increased risk for several major cancers. In the future, this information could also allow for better protective equipment and prevention techniques to be developed.

“Given the strong showing of bipartisan support for this legislation, I am pleased to see it pass the Subcommittee unanimously. The brave men and women who stare down danger, entering smoked filled rooms and hazardous environments every day in service to their communities deserve our support,” said Rep. Pascrell. “We are now one step closer to creating a national cancer registry for firefighters. This will better our understanding of the trends associated with firefighters developing this life-threatening disease and help ensure that adequate allocation of resources. I appreciate the help Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone has given us as this bill moves through his committee. I look forward to the consideration of this bill in the full House and working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill expeditiously.”

“This is an important piece of legislation that truly can save lives,” said Rep. Collins. “This database will assist the CDC with research, and the more information they have the better when it comes to developing new protocols and safeguards for these brave men and women.”

A 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that in the United States firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths for certain types of cancer when compared to the general U.S. population, specifically digestive, oral, respiratory and urinary cancers, and malignant mesothelioma. The study confirms that firefighters have an increased risk of cancer as a result of occupational exposure. In order to bolster the efforts led by researchers at NIOSH, the firefighter cancer registry would improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters – career and volunteer.

Specifically, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would:

  • Develop a firefighter registry of available cancer registry data collected by existing State Cancer Registries and a strategy to maximize participation
  • Create a registry that will contain relevant history, such as other occupational information, years of service, number of fire incidents responded to, and additional risk factors
  • Make de-identified data available to public health researchers to provide them with robust and comprehensive datasets to expand groundbreaking research
  • Improve our understanding of cancer incidences by requiring its administrators to consult regularly with public health experts, clinicians, and firefighters

The bill has strong support from several major fire organizations, including the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association and the International Fire Services Training Association.

The legislation will advance to the full Energy and Commerce Committee, and if reported favorably can advance to the House floor.

For more information on H.R. 931, Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, click here.