What Types of Harmful Chemicals are Firefighters Commonly Exposed Too?
Household items and furniture have evolved over the years making them safer for consumer use. Materials are treated with fire-retardant chemicals to slow the progression of a fire should one occur. When fire retardants eventually catch on fire, they cause an influx of harmful and extremely deadly chemicals. Not all flame retardants present concerns, but the following types often do.
- Halogenated flame retardants (also known as organohalogen flame retardants) containing chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon
- Organophosphorous flame retardants containing phosphorous bonded to carboni
These flame retardants convert into dioxins and furans when burned. Materials treated with brominated flame retardants also create more carbon monoxide, smoke ii and hydrogen cyanide. While carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous, according to Todd Shoebridgeiii; a 30-year fire service veteran and captain at the Hickory Fire Department in North Carolina states, “hydrogen cyanide is 35 times deadlier than carbon monoxide, and during a fire it can kill in as little as one minute”.
Another common chemical released in fires is from PVC. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a plastic used to make pipes, wall coverings, siding, decking, fencing, shower curtains, furnishings, kitchen floors iiv, and children’s toys. PVC to some is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created. When PVC is burned it releases highly hazardous chemicals including vinyl chloride, dioxins, mercury, phthalates, and other chemicals that have been linked to deterioration of the central nervous system, liver damage, reproductive harm, and certain cancers.v Other chemicals firefighters are exposed to include hydrogen chloride, ammonia, hydrogen fluoride, isocyanates, acrolein, radon, formaldehyde and asbestos. These harmful chemicals are only from structural fires and does not include the carcinogenic chemicals from vehicular and chemical fires.
What are the Health Risks of Continuous Exposure to Harmful Chemicals?
For every five degrees (F) that body temperature rises, the absorption rate of skin increases by a staggering 400 percent. This increase essentially turns firefighters into a human sponge, and the toxins that are absorbed through their gear have a direct path into a firefighters’ body.vi Cancer is the leading cause of death in firefighters outside of the line of duty, surpassing heart disease, according to the International Association of Firefighters.vii According to the EPA, dioxins and furans are likely to cause cancer. Dioxins and furans build up in the body over time, so concentrations will increase over a firefighter’s career.viii
“Every firefighter knows another firefighter with cancer. The statistics are real and hit very close to home. But there are things they can do to take their health into their own hands. One is Sunlighten. I looked at several infrared sauna brands on the market and felt the most comfortable with Sunlighten because it has the science, technology, clinical studies and patents behind it. You need that level of certainty and credibility when you are dealing with your health. You need to do anything in your power to ensure more time with your family – if a detox program with Sunlighten can add to the quality and quantity of your life – how can you not do it?”
Dr. Ryan Felde
Evolution of Self-Care & Prevention
With an alarming number of firefighters getting sick while they are saving the lives of others, the statistics cannot be ignored. Not only are individual firefighters taking extra measures to eliminate toxins, but entire departments are implementing wellness programs and protocols to decontaminate and detoxify. That is why infrared saunas are becoming a staple in fire stations across the country.
What is an Infrared Sauna?
Infrared saunas use infrared light energy experienced as heat to warm the body directly. This triggers a deep, cleansing sweat, increases circulation and boosts the immune system. Infrared light is just beyond the visible spectrum and naturally produced by the sun and absorbed by our body’s cells. Infrared saunas should be designed to produce the most healing spectrum of infrared light. However, not all infrared saunas are equal.ix
Why Sunlighten Medical-grade Infrared Saunas?
Dedicated to offering the most effective wellness solutions available, Sunlighten’s Solocarbon® infrared technology provides the highest concentration of pure,far, infrared heat available and is proven to be 95-99% effective. It is the only far infrared heater on the market clinically shown to raise core temperature, lower blood pressure and aid in weight loss.
How Do Sunlighten’s Solocarbon® Infrared Saunas Help to Detox Firefighters After Exposure to Harmful Chemicals from Fires?
After fires, firefighters are encouraged to sweat. They can do this by extensive exercising like running or cycling. Some firefighters utilize traditional hot steam saunas (which simply heat the air, not the body directly). While these are good options for firemen and women, these do not penetrate human tissue to raise core body temperature to get a deep detoxification.
There have been many studies proving that an induced sweat is one of the most efficient ways a body can self-detox and rid itself of harmful chemicals. Specifically, the act of sweating can help reduce the risk of cancer by purging carcinogenic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, PCBs, flame retardants, asbestos, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and arsenic.xi
“I researched many brands of infrared saunas and chose Sunlighten after a recommendation from Dr. Ryan Felde and his personal story with cancer prevention. We’ve added Sunlighten to our decontamination policy – anyone exposed to a fire must shower, sauna, then shower again. We can literally see how Sunlighten eliminates toxins from the body. After wiping sweat off the skin, there is a brown residue left on the towel. Sunlighten far infrared therapy is a powerful tool to maintain firefighters’ overall health and wellness. Huntley firefighters sauna 2 or 3 times per week and after every fire. As a result, they sleep better, feel better, and have a stronger immune system. I personally have not been sick since using the Sunlighten sauna on regular basis and have purchased one for my home.”
Patrick Gordon, Firefighter & Paramedic of Huntley Fire Protection District
Huntley firefighters use infrared saunas in effort to prevent cancer Cancer is leading cause of firefighters’ deaths outside of line of duty
Cancer is the leading cause of death in firefighters outside of the line of duty, surpassing heart disease, according to the International Association of Firefighters.
News Media – Northwest Herald by Mike Mallory
Sunlighten’s Solocarbon® Far Infrared (FIR) heaters resonate near 9.4 microns, which according to Wien’s Law, is the level the body absorbs infrared energy . The vibration of the FIR causes a release of cellular toxins. FIR provides gentle radiant heat that can penetrate up to 1.5 inches (almost 4 cm) beneath the skin. Sunlighten’s technology has a proven emissivity rate of 95-99% at 9.4 microns,the highest rate in the industry. xiii
Emissivity is the ability of an object to emit or absorb energy. Sunlighten’s Solocarbon® is clinically shown to raise the core body temperature nearly three degrees, inducing a false fever. The false fever causes the body to sweat and aid the body in the release of the toxins and harmful chemicals the firefighters’ bodies have absorbed.xiv
Dr. Irvin Sahni was interviewed in a “Truth About Cancer” series and states, “…by exposing your body to that heat, you’re selectively killing or eradicating those less viable cells, those cancer cells, without hurting your normal cells. And so, a far infrared sauna is useful because it can help you sweat, excrete toxins, and in theory eliminate cancer cells which can’t survive the heat as well as the normal cells.”xvi Watch the interview on YouTube
Benefits Beyond Chemical Detox
Fire has a distinct smell because that odor has seeped into a firefighter’s skin and hair follicles, they can carry that odor for days. That lingering smell of smoke and toxins is unpleasant for all firefighters but it’s especially disturbing for those with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
“Sunlighten’s medical-grade infrared heat provides faster results over other infrared or hot rock saunas. My husband, Lt. John Drew of FDNY-Queens, works 24-hour shifts and witnesses traumatic situations every day. The stress PTSD is very high for this profession. He follows a detox protocol with Niacin, Sunlighten sauna sessions and a combination of hydration supplements.
With his routine Sunlighten sauna sweats, he is able to eliminate the smell of smoke that emanates from his body. The comfort of Sunlighten’s PURE far-infrared heat allows John to stay in for longer sauna sessions if desired. He has been able to reduce mental anxiety and relax using IR sauna therapy as it calms nerves. He sleeps noticeably better.”
Vanessa Galati –Drew, owner of Cleansing Concepts, NY.
For more than two years, the Huntley Fire Protection District has used Sunlighten infrared saunas in hopes of sweating out cancer-causing toxins and improving overall health and wellness. Rick Madsen, a Huntley firefighter states, “Any time there is an exposure to anything that can be cancerous, whether it’s hazmats, smoke, anything – we’re using the sauna.” xvii
Madsen continued on to state, “before the extensive decontamination process was instituted, you could smell products of combustion at the firehouse. Now it’s rarely noticeable.” The Huntley Fire Protection District follows a strict protocol of complete gross decontamination at the scene, followed by a shower upon return to the firehouse, hit the Sunlighten community sauna, then take another shower.
As Dr. Ryan Felde stated: You need to do anything in your power to ensure more time with your family – if a detox program with Sunlighten can add to the quality and quantity of your life – how can you not do it?”