The Fairfax, Va.-based International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is reviewing a study released last week by the Washington-based National League of Cities (NLC) that claimed there is no substantial scientific evidence that firefighters suffer higher cancer rates than the general population. The NLC study, "Assessing State Firefighter Cancer Presumption Laws And Current Firefighter Cancer Research," calls into question the "presumption laws" that allow firefighters with cancer to collect workers' compensation without proving that they contracted the disease as a result of their job, and IAFC advocates for those laws.

After an initial assessment, IAFC points out that the NLC report offers no new, independent research to prove its point, but is a "study of previous studies," according to a statement. IAFC's Safety, Health and Survival Section will assemble experts, including academicians and medical doctors, to evaluate the report and release updated information in the near future. "The IAFC, an ardent supporter of cancer presumption laws, is deeply concerned about the impact this report may have on critical firefighter protections, as well as future health and safety research," said the IAFC in a statement posted on its Web site.

NLC contends that the presumption laws, which have been passed in 24 states, place an unfair burden on cities. "While we depend on firefighters for the critical role they play in the safety of our cities and towns, we must evaluate this issue objectively and scientifically," NLC Executive Director Donald Borut said in a statement.

Download the "Assessing State Firefighter Cancer Presumption Laws And Current Firefighter Cancer Research" study from NLC's Web site.

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