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Firefighters in New Hampshire who get cancer will now have their treatments covered as an occupational illness under workers compensation after Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday signed into law a bill that proponents have said was three decades in the making.
S.B. 541, effective immediately, orders that “there shall exist a prima facie presumption that cancer disease in a firefighter, whether a regular, call, volunteer, or retired member of a fire department, is occupationally related.”
The laws stipulates that in order to receive the benefit, the type of cancer involved must be “a type which may be caused by exposure to heat, radiation, or a known carcinogen, as defined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.”
The firefighter must have worked for 10 years or more to qualify and must prove he or she has never smoked or used tobacco products, according to the law. “The employer of a call or volunteer firefighter shall provide the required reasonable medical evidence to the firefighter to present as part of his or her claim,” it states.
The firefighter “shall be required to present after action reports filed after fire incidents which demonstrate exposure to the known carcinogens as part of the claim,” the law states.
The law also applies to retired firefighters with pensions and suffering from cancer who have been retired for six to 20 years and can guarantee he or she has lived a tobacco-free life, according to the law.
Thirty-nine Ohio fire departments will share $376,517 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation under a new program to reduce firefighters’ exposure to toxic environmental elements.