Presumptive Disease Coverage
Studies have detailed that firefighters experience much higher rates of occupational diseases (including cancers, respiratory and cardiac diseases) than the general public.
In recognition of this occupational hazard, the WA legislature granted fire fighters a rebuttable presumption in 1987 and has since expanded covered conditions based on new evidence, that these occupational diseases are on-the-job injuries. There is now a list covered diseases.
Women fire fighters, specifically, are an underrepresented population and have lagged in receiving appropriate presumptive disease coverage.
The WSCFF supports expanding the covered cancers in RCW 51.32.185 due to significantly higher rates of occurrence. AND The risk of contracting breast cancer increases with age for women firefighters to 2.66 times for those between the ages 50 and 54 and 1.46 times greater risk of dying.
The WSCFF therefore believes the following diseases should be covered under RCW 51.32.185
Mesothelioma: 2.29 times greater risk of contracting and 2.00 times greater risk of dying
Stomach cancer: 1.58 times greater risk of contracting and 1.1 times greater risk of dying
Non-melanoma skin cancer: 1.52 times greater risk of contracting
Cervical Cancer: 5.24 times greater risk of contracting
Breast Cancer (female firefighters: 1.45 times greater risk of contracting and 1.46 times greater risk of dying.