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Pa. House Bill Addresses Cancer in Firefighters

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by KYW’s Michelle Durham

There’s a bill in the Pennsylvania State Senate that would presume a fire fighter (current or retired), if later diagnosed with cancer, that they were exposed to elements on the job that caused it instead of the fire fighter having to fight to prove it. Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter has some specific objections to parts of House Bill 1231 and is seeking changes before it comes up for a vote.

On June 1st Mayor Nutter sent a letter to State Senator Christine Tartaglione, wanting to remove exposure to heat, gas, or radiation from the category of known human carcinegans and current employers liability for disability or death of an employee is 300 weeks after the last date of employment:

“This bill ends any limit so a person could have certainly worked for us, but then had a second profession and possibly could have contracted a cancer.”

Local 22 union president Bill Gault:

“In this state you have to prove what fire you got it on — it’s impossible. After 20 years, the problem is the latency periods with all cancers. Cancer you don’t know you are going to have for five or ten years afterwards.”

Currently, 33 states have this law on the books.

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