Journal List > J Korean Med Assoc > v.51(12) > 1041978

J Korean Med Assoc. 2008 Dec;51(12):1097-1102. Korean.
Published online December 31, 2008.
Copyright © 2008 Korean Medical Association
Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer and Reproductive Hazards in Firefighters
Ah Reum Han, MD and John A. Linton, MD
Department of Family Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea. Email: ,Email:

Firefighters are facing occupational hazards such as exposures to a variety of carcinogens and toxic agents, heat, physical stress and psychological stress. This occupation involves an increased risk of particular health concerns including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and reproductive hazards. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of lifetime mortality among the firefighters as well as the principal cause of on-duty deaths. In spite of "healthy worker effect", a number of studies have found an increased risk of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality in firefighters. There are various carcinogens in the fire smoke. Many studies address that some types of cancers are related to firefighting. These cancers include brain tumors, cancers of hematopoietic and lymphatic systems, cancers of genitourinary tract, and skin cancers. To date, the relationship between firefighting and reproductive hazards has not been widely studied. However, since firefighters are exposed to various chemical and physical hazards which might influence the reproductive systems, the concerns are raising. It is important to recognize that firefighters are at a risk of several significant health problems. To reduce the risk, it should be encouraged to use protective equipments efficiently and manage physically exerted firefighters appropriately at the fire scene. Furthermore, we should activate not only screening programs to detect health risk factors, but also medical programs to help firefighters maintain a good physical fitness.

Keywords: Firefighters; Exposure; Cardiovascular disease; Cancer; Reproductive hazard

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