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New Jersey firefighters can suffer from occupational diseases

Fire fighters are so trusted and responsive that we almost take them for granted. Anytime a structure fire or an emergency occurs, these brave men and women arrive almost miraculously to save human lives. We appreciate the work fire fighters deliver, but most of us do so in silence, assuming they will be here whenever they are needed.

What many residents of Hackensack and other New Jersey cities do not realize is that fire fighters risk more than physical injury. In fact, these public servants risk their health in a huge way. The International Association of Fire Fighters says fire fighters are more at risk for lung disease than most people. This is because of exposure to a plethora of harmful chemicals during the course of their work. Just a few of these include:

-- Sulfur dioxide

-- Phosgene

-- Hydrogen chloride

-- Nitrogen oxides

-- And particulate materials

While more research is necessary to determine if firefighting causes chronic lung or pulmonary disease, it is safe to say that breathing in these harmful substances is not healthy to lung tissue. Further, some of the long-term occupational illnesses fire fighters suffer do not begin to surface for years, sometimes long after they have left the service.

In light of the data offered by the IAFF, it is clear that fire fighters deserve protections for the hazards they risk to protect American citizens. Most New Jersey fire fighters would likely agree that they would appreciate financial security if they contract a disease or illness while performing their duties. Often, an attorney can help sick workers find this security. For more information, please visit our legal website.

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