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Cancer, Injuries and Other Illnesses

Fire fighters may be exposed to a variety of hazards. At NIOSH, we research possible health effects that may occur from structural fire exposures. Here you will find information on our current projects and published studies.


Study of Cancer among U.S. Fire Fighters

In 2010, NIOSH researchers, with funding assistance from the U.S. Fire Administration launched a multi-year study to examine whether fire fighters have a higher risk of cancer and other causes of death due to job exposures. Our study was designed to address limitations of previous fire fighter cancer research. Learn more about the project.


General Injuries

Hearing Loss


Fire fighters may be exposed to many hazards during the course of their job, including noise. NIOSH recommends workplace noise exposures not exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 dBA (based on a 3-dB exchange rate). Using these guidelines, we published a revised criteria document to prevent occupational hearing loss, Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Noise Exposure. [PDF 4340 KB, 122 pages] Routine fire fighting tasks and emergency response activities often result in noise exposure that exceeds NIOSH recommendations. Repeated exposure may gradually cause work-related hearing loss.

To prevent hearing impairment among fire fighters, we recommend using engineering and administrative controls to limit overall exposure to noise. When controls are not possible, we recommend hearing protection training and limiting noise exposures.


Heart Disease

Other Illnesses

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