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Firefighters have called for more protection after research found they were being exposed to dangerously high levels of harmful chemicals.
Their plea echoed scientific research that said firefighters were at risk of getting cancer because of contaminated clothing and equipment.
For the first time, the UK’s chief fire officer has acknowledged the high rate of cancer among his colleagues.
The Fire Brigades Union has called on the government to protect firefighters.
Union spokesman Chris Moore, an active firefighter in South Shields, has himself been receiving treatment for an incurable cancer.
“Up and down the country firefighters are dying of this, due to them saving lives in the line of duty, and their job is killing them,” said Mr Moore.