When buildings and vehicles are set ablaze, toxic chemicals are released into the air. Those chemicals can last by hanging on to firefighters' gear, even taken back to the station after fires are put out -- causing troubling consequences for health and safety to those in duty.
According to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study, firefighters are twice as likely to get skin and testicular cancer and mesothelioma.
Fairfax Fire and Rescue is looking to reduce those numbers with a new approach.
The department partnered with the National Fire Protection Association Research Foundation on a four-phase study that aims to improve equipment that can filter through the carcinogens and make for healthier firefighters.
The partnership aims at a "holistic approach" to improving that gear and reducing cancer exposure.