Bill would help firefighters claim cancer compensation

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HARTFORD — State lawmakers are considering legislation that would presume firefighters who have cancer most likely got it from their jobs, easing claims for insurance or workers’ compensation.

The Republican-American reports that Waterbury Deputy Chief Richard Hart, political affairs director of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut, says toxic atmosphere attacks firefighters’ bodies long after the fire is out.

Before seeking workers’ compensation, a Connecticut firefighter must prove cancer was caused by the job, which is difficult.

Municipal officials worry about the cost to budgets and impact on insurance rates from rising cancer claims.

Francesca Litow, a cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins University, said firefighters have higher rates of cancer affecting the skin, prostate, brain and colon. Many chemicals found in smoke such as benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde are carcinogenic.