After two decades of hard work, the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters (OAPFF) successfully lobbied for the passage of a fire fighter cancer presumption law. SB 27, which has been renamed the Michael Louis Palumbo Act in honor of a Beachwood Local 2388 member diagnosed with brain cancer, now awaits Governor John Kasich’s signature.
“This is an important victory as so many of our members are exposed to an untold number of toxic chemicals on the job every day,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “This legislation gives our Ohio members peace of mind, knowing they are protected should they be diagnosed with cancer.”
“I am very proud of the hard work the OAPFF and its members put into passing this bill,” says 8th District Vice President and former OAPFF President Mark Sanders. “Now, our Ohio members who are exposed to cancer-causing agents on the job can get the life-saving treatment they need.”
The legislation states that if a fire fighter develops cancer, he or she is presumed to have incurred the disease after being exposed on the job to a chemical agent classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a group 1 or 2A carcinogen.
Fire fighters diagnosed with cancer will have treatment covered through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
“This great success was truly a team effort,” says OAPFF President Mike Taylor, “including Sanders and OAPFF Governmental Affairs Director Jim Carney who worked hard to earn bi-partisan support for the Michael Louis Palumbo Act and so many others who put their boots on the ground to make this happen.”
With state Senator Tom Patton (R) as its champion, SB 27 passed the Senate 32-1.
The state House amended the legislation to include language about the cancer-causing agents fire fighters are exposed to on the job. Thus, most cancers will be covered. The legislation passed 72-20.