Firefighters’ workplace cancer risk explored

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are taking a new approach to studying cancer risk among firefighters. They have partnered with the Boston Fire Department to conduct a novel exposure assessment of cancer risk factors — such as diesel exhaust exposure — at the firefighters’ workplace: the fire station.

“We are looking at chronic low level exposures in the fire station,” said Emily Sparer, postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School in a February 23, 2017 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Insight blog. Sparer is working on the pilot study with Glorian Sorensen, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard Chan and director of the Center for Community Based Research in the Division of Population Sciences at Dana-Farber.

“We will be looking at occupational exposures and combining those with other potential factors in firefighters’ daily routines,” said Sorensen.

The effort is part of work funded by a federal grant to the Harvard Center for Work, Health, and Well-Being, of which Sorensen is the principal investigator. Additional funds are provided by Harvard Chan’s Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center.

Read the article: Firefighters and Cancer: Dana-Farber Scientists Investigate