Greensboro firefighters wearing special wristbands to analyze chemicals they are exposed to

By Natalie Wilson, Fox News 8

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro firefighters could find out what toxins they’re being exposed to just by wearing wristbands.

Greensboro, Raleigh and Durham fire departments are partnering with the Duke Cancer Institute for a study analyzing chemicals that could put firefighters at risk for cancer.

“I’ve been very involved in training firefighters my whole career and I’ve been exposed to a lot of different things and it’s really crossed my mind an awful lot,” Greensboro Fire Department Assistant Chief over Health & Safety Alex Gossett said.

Duke Cancer Institute will study what’s collected on the wristbands to get more concrete answers on what firefighters are exposed to.

“We’re going to have one group of firefighters who wear a wristband continuously all day long and that will give us a longitudinal measure of their entire exposure history from sun up to sundown. We’ll have another group of firefighters who only wear the wristband when they’re going into a fire situation,” said Dr. Steven Patierno, deputy director of the Duke Cancer Institute.

The goal is to have 1,000 firefighters participate across the three departments.

The hope is the collected data will provide better guidance on cancer prevention methods, including the equipment cleaning process.

Some of Durham’s firefighters are currently wearing the bands as part of a pilot program.

It’s expected to be several months before the larger study fully begins.