Resources for the Firefighting Community

Due to the long-term risk of firefighting activities, the OCRC is actively involved in firefighter cancer research. This page houses the many research activities that the OCRC has worked on, or is currently working on. Click the links to learn more about our various research studies, collaborations, and tools!

Workshop Report

Firefighter Cancer Research Priorities Workshop

  • Reporting on findings from the Firefighter Cancer Research Priorities Workshop (2022), jointly hosted by OCRC and Health Canada.
  • Features insight from approximately 70 provincial, national, and international stakeholders and scientific collaborators.
  • Outlines past and ongoing research on cancer and firefighting in Canada and internationally; summarizes major knowledge gaps and priorities for firefighter cancer research identified by workshop participants; and assesses Canadian research capacity using expertise to identify research priorities that Canada is well-placed to address.

Research Studies

Respirator fit testing for emergency workers during simulated life support tasks

  • How well are emergency workers protected by respirators during patient handling and life support tasks?
  • Now recruiting firefighters and paramedics!

Assessing methods for measuring occupational exposure to flame retardants

  • How well do new flame retardant measurement methods work to measure exposure among office workers, paramedics and firefighters?

Assessment of diesel exhaust exposure (DEE) in municipal fire halls in Ontario

  • Observing the nature and extent of DEE in Ontario fire halls, and identifying the effectiveness of existing control measures meant to decrease DEE exposure.

Epidemiological studies investigating cancer risks

  • Comparing cancer risk among firefighters to police, military, and other workers in Ontario and Canada.

Prostate cancer risk among firefighters and police

  • Evaluating the evidence available for association between prostate cancer and emergency services workers.

International Collaborations

IARC Monograph 132: Occupational Exposure as a Firefighter

  • Three OCRC Scientists participated in the Monograph, which assesses the carcinogenicity of occupational exposure as a firefighter.

ODSS Online Statistics Data Tool

  • Provides a deeper insight into the risks among different occupational sectors

Online Resources Relating to Firefighting Activities

  • Ontario Cancer Facts: Firefighters in Ontario at increased risk of certain cancers. OCRC found that Ontario firefighters have an increased risk of developing certain cancers, including testicular cancer, melanoma and prostate cancer, when compared to other workers in Ontario.
  • The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) provides information on health and safety hazards of firefighting and safe work practices.
  • The Ontario Government provides firefighter guidance notes on best practices for protecting firefighter health and safety. These include recommended practices for employers and institutions.
  • The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides a list of firefighter resources about cancers, occupational hazards, personal protective equipment, and other topics.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has created an infographic to summarize their monograph findings for the carcinogenicity of occupational exposure as a firefighter. The detailed monograph evaluation is linked here.

Resources about Shiftwork

Resources about Sun Safety