The good news is that awareness of the unintended health hazards of being a firefighter is increasing every day. The more people know, the easier it is to mobilize resources to help combat the problem. The bad news, of course, is that more awareness means more stories are popping up that shed light on just how dangerous firefighting is...and not because of the immediate hazards posed by smoke and fire.
A recent symposium in Boston showed that cancer and heart disease are affecting members of the Boston Fire Department at 2½ times the rate of other city residents. Another sad irony is that the fire retardants used on furniture and building materials are now being blamed for elevated cancer rates among firefighters.
Firefighters using wipes to help prevent Cancer
The Firefighter Cancer Support Network has published an 11-step list of the immediate actions firefighters can take to protect themselves from cancer. Among the first 3 actions is the use of body wipes to “remove as much soot as possible from the head, neck, jaw, throat, underarms and hands immediately while still on the scene."
This video from the Firefighter Cancer Consultants team talks about the different kinds of wipes available for firefighters to help remove carcinogenic soot.
Action Wipes were also used as part of a collaborative Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Project at the Illinois Fire Service Institute. This project also measured participant’s skin for to check for any exposure to contaminants and will provide one of the first real comparisons of wipes in a controlled fire scene to determine their efficacy in removing toxins off the skin. We'll update this blog as the results come in.
As always, our fundamental product foundation is that as a firefighter you should not be adding any additional chemicals or toxins to your body while you're cleaning off the soot, which is why ingredients and the country of origin for wipes are so critical.
Action Wipes are hypoallergenic and the first and only body wipe to carry the EWG VERIFIED(tm) status. That is an important distinction: Since there are no current standards for Body Wipes’ efficacy in removing carcinogens, we took the action to obtain EWG VERIFIED status to provide an additional quantitative factor in substantiating the quality and safety of our ingredients.
Additional information on our firefighter program is here.