Mortality in Florida professional firefighters, 1972 to 1999

Fangchao Ma, Lora E. Fleming, David J. Lee, Edward Trapido, Terence A. Gerace, Hong Lai, Shenghan Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Background: Exposure to occupational hazards among firefighters may lead to increased mortality from cancer, lung, or heart disease. Methods: Age- and gender-adjusted mortality rates of 34,796 male and 2,017 female Florida professional firefighters between 1972 and 1999 were compared with the Florida general population. Results: One thousand four hundred eleven male and 38 female firefighter deaths with known causes were identified. In male firefighters, mortality due to all causes and most non-malignant diseases was significantly less than expected. There was no excess overall mortality from cancer, but excesses existed for male breast cancer [standardized mortality ratio (SMR = 7.41; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.99-18.96) and thyroid cancer (SMR = 4.82; 95% CI: 1.30-12.34)]. Mortality from bladder cancer was increased and approached statistical significance (SMR = 1.79; 95% CI: 0.98-3.00). Firefighters certified between 1972 and 1976 had excess mortality from bladder cancer (SMR = 1.95; 95% CI: 1.04-3.33). Female firefighters had similar morality patterns to Florida women except for atherosclerotic heart disease (SMR = 3.85; 95% CI: 1.66-7.58). Conclusions: Excess mortality risk from bladder cancer may be related to occupational exposure during fire fighting. The thyroid cancer and breast cancer risk in males, as well as the excess risk of cardiovascular disease mortality noted in females warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-517
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Firefighters
  • Mortality
  • Neoplasms
  • Occupational exposure
  • Occupational health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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