Firefighters more prone to skin cancer


Firefighters face many health hazards during their job. It has not been researched till now that how their skin is more prone to cancer due to chemical exposure.

It is a known fact that firefighters are more prone to skin cancer comparing to the general population. A new study by the researchers at the University of Ottawa inspected that firefighters are exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in smoke from fires. These chemicals can cause genetic variations and are therefore, known as carcinogens. PHAs are harmful chemicals released into the air by the burning of wood, plastic, electronics, furniture, building materials and so on that are known to cause cancer.

Th researchers collected urine samples and wiped their skin before and after they came in contact with fire during 2015 and 2016. They found that the PAH level was about three to five times higher after the fire, than before, which is associated with the four times higher risk of DNA mutations.

“There’s a relationship between firefighters’ urinary PAH metabolite levels and the levels of PAHs on their skin, which leads us to suspect that [skin] contact may be an important route of exposure,” said Jennifer Keir, an author of the study, in a news release from the American Chemical Society.


The study suggested that it is necessary to get the skin decontamination after fighting a fire. It helps in reducing the exposure of the skin to cancer-causing compounds.