ROCHESTER N.Y. (WROC) — Cancer among firefighters is a prevalent issue. According to The National Institute Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) a study identified that fire fighters have a 9% greater chance of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14% greater chance of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population.

According to John Joseph who is a secretary of the Rochester Firefighters Association, they are at risk of obtaining cancer from not only the smoke from the fire, but also the gear that protects them from the fire along with the trucks as that take them there as well.

“We live with our truck essentially. Every firehouse has what’s basically an attached garage and the exhaust particles and some of the chemicals in the truck have been linked to cancer and other health issues,” says Joseph.

He goes on to share that a few widows of fallen firefighters have spoken up about a long lasting chemical known as PFAS or polyfluoroalkyl substances that is found in the gear that is worn by firefighters. The chemical is not easily broken down and toxic to the environment, animals, and humans.

“You can’t be in the fire service that long and not know somebody who doesn’t have cancer,” he says.

These days to help fight against cancer risks they have adapted to new ways of gear care and cleaning methods along with exhaust capture systems.

Joseph says they are always in need of additional assistance. If you would like to provide funding to support your local firefighters in their fight and prevention against cancer you can visit their website Lets Fire Cancer.