The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association (IFESA) has today (Thursday) called for greater action to address cancer risks to firefighters following evidence to MEP's of unacceptably high rates of cancer among the profession.

Following a European Parliament meeting of the European Fire Fighters Unions Alliance (EFFUA) - of which IFESA is a member - with the MEP group MEP's Against Cancer (MAC), IFESA President John Kidd said the international evidence is now conclusive that constant exposure to deadly toxic smoke and particles in the line of duty is resulting in unacceptably high rates of cancer among firefighters.

“The cancer rate emerging among firefighters globally is truly concerning and yet there is little or no response from national governments or at EU level, to the issue of the impact of occupational exposure by firefighters throughout their careers to toxins and deadly chemicals resulting in higher cancer incidence. It is now time to take action to address this growing problem at both a national and EU level.'

Appealing to the European Parliament meeting which focused specifically on the issue of cancer and fire fighters, EFFUA International Secretary Mikael Svanberg said ‘We chose this profession to save lives, but as a result of toxic chemicals we end up fighting for our own. I'm tired of going to the funerals of colleagues who have died too young as a result of cancer.'

Concluding John Kidd said , ‘IFESA together with our fellow firefighter unions in EFFUA is now calling on the European Union to introduce tough new smoke toxicity regulations for construction materials, funding for further studies into the issue of fire fighters and work-related cancer and extra resources to improve health training for fire fighters.'

Media Contacts: John Kidd, President IFESA 087 6588999 Ros Mac Cobb Vice President 0872164533

Note to Editors : About the European Fire Fighters Unions Alliance (EFFUA):

The European Fire Fighters Unions Alliance (EFFUA) is an international alliance of independent trade unions representing fire fighters in 12 European countries. EFFUA works towards creating a safer and better working environment for fire fighters. EFFUA is an active partner of Fire Safe Europe as they work together in improving fire safety in building. IFESA is a member of EFFUA.