The International Myeloma Foundation:
Firefighter Guidelines to Reduce the Risk of
Multiple Myeloma
Firefighters should have their turnouts professionally cleaned routinely,
and to avoid wearing or storing their turnouts in fire station living areas
The frequency of cleaning depends on their level of activity
Turnouts in living quarters or private cars can spread the contamination
Firefighters should shower as soon as they return from each fire to remove
the soot and ash
Firemen can return from a fire exhausted, and thoroughly scrubbing off
the soot may not be a top priority, but an immediate shower can limit the
exposure to toxins and reduce the risk
We recommend that fire departments review and update guidelines for use
of personal protective equipment (PPE)
Firefighters may not always perceive a danger, but risks may lurk where
they are least expected
When in doubt, they should opt on the side of safety and follow their
department guidelines
It is advisable for departments to equip fire engines with exhaust removal
systems; if not available, avoid idling the engines indoors without adequate
There is some evidence that chemicals in diesel fumes may be linked to
cancer, and multiple exposures in closed quarters can increase the risk
and leave potentially toxic residues behind
In addition firefighters should follow these medical guidelines:
Firefighters should pursue and complete annual medical exams
They should discuss possible cancer risks with their physicians
Firefighters diagnosed with myeloma should seek expert medical care
Information is available through the IMF
Guidelines developed in cooperation with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network
International Myeloma Foundation, 12650 Riverside Drive, Suite 206, North Hollywood, CA 91607
(800) 452- 2873