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State Representative Denise Garlick, and State Senators Rebecca Rausch and Mike Rush today announced $7,181,00 in a grant award to the Needham Fire Department for gear and equipment that will reduce firefighters’ exposure to cancer-causing chemicals on the job.

The Firefighter Turnout Gear Grant program will provide firefighters with new hoods and gloves for structural firefighting activities. These items will reduce exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in the head and hand areas, which are high-risk areas for dangerous chemicals to enter the body.

Funding for this grant program was established by the Legislature in the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget to address the growing concerns regarding the exposure to cancer causing chemicals fire fighters may experience in the line of duty. Flame retardant chemicals, found in household products, have been linked with the rising rate of incidence of cancer amount firefighters over the last thirty years. Through this grant, fire departments will be able to purchase new hoods and gloves to reduce exposure to high-risk areas, further protecting the firefighters that serve their communities.

This grant award will support many ongoing cancer prevention initiatives at the local level by reducing the amount of cancer-causing chemicals firefighters are exposed to in the coming years.

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