57th Legislature

                      2002 Regular Session


Passed by the House March 11, 2002

  Yeas 94   Nays 0




Speaker of the House of Representatives







Passed by the Senate March 7, 2002

  Yeas 48   Nays 0



I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SECOND SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2663  as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                          Chief Clerk






President of the Senate




Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.               




Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington



                 SECOND SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2663



                     AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE


             Passed Legislature - 2002 Regular Session


State of Washington      57th Legislature     2002 Regular Session


By House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Conway, Clements, Cooper, Reardon, Sullivan, Delvin, Simpson, Armstrong, Hankins, Benson, Cairnes, Lysen, Kirby, Edwards, Chase, Kenney, Campbell, Barlean, Santos, Talcott, Wood and Rockefeller)


Read first time 02/11/2002.  Referred to Committee on .

Changing conditions that are presumed to be occupational diseases of fire fighters. 

    AN ACT Relating to occupational diseases affecting fire fighters; amending RCW 51.32.185; and creating a new section.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  (1) The legislature finds that:

    (a) Benzene is detected in most fire environments and has been associated with leukemia and multiple myeloma.  Given the established exposure to benzene in a fire environment, there is biologic plausibility for fire fighters to be at increased risk of these malignancies;

    (b) Increased risks of leukemia and lymphoma have been described in several epidemiologic studies of fire fighters.  The risks of leukemia are often two or three times that of the population as a whole, and a two-fold risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has also been found;

    (c) Epidemiologic studies assessing fire fighters' cancer risks concluded that there is adequate support for a causal relationship between fire fighting and brain cancer;

    (d) Fire fighters are exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as products of combustion and these chemicals have been associated with bladder cancer.  The epidemiologic data suggests fire fighters have a three-fold risk of bladder cancer compared to the population as a whole;

    (e) A 1990 review of fire fighter epidemiology calculated a statistically significant risk for melanoma among fire fighters;

    (f) Fire fighters are exposed to extremely hazardous environments.  Potentially lethal products of combustion include particulates and gases and are the major source of fire fighter exposures to toxic chemicals; and

    (g) The burning of a typical urban structure containing woods, paints, glues, plastics, and synthetic materials in furniture, carpeting, and insulation liberates hundreds of chemicals.  Fire fighters are exposed to a wide variety of potential carcinogens, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soots, tars, and diesel exhaust, arsenic in wood preservatives, formaldehyde in wood smoke, and asbestos in building insulation.

    (2) The legislature further finds that some occupational diseases resulting from fire fighter working conditions can develop slowly, usually manifesting themselves years after exposure.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 51.32.185 and 1987 c 515 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) In the case of fire fighters as defined in RCW 41.26.030(4) (a), (b), and (c) who are covered under Title 51 RCW and fire fighters, including supervisors, employed on a full-time, fully compensated basis as a fire fighter of a private sector employer's fire department that includes over fifty such fire fighters, there shall exist a prima facie presumption that:  (a) Respiratory disease ((is an)); (b) heart problems that are experienced within seventy-two hours of exposure to smoke, fumes, or toxic substances; (c) cancer; and (d) infectious diseases are occupational diseases under RCW 51.08.140.  This presumption of occupational disease may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence ((controverting the presumption)).  ((Controverting)) Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, use of tobacco products, physical fitness and weight, lifestyle, hereditary factors, and exposure from other employment or nonemployment activities.

    (2) The presumptions established in subsection (1) of this section shall be extended to an applicable member following termination of service for a period of three calendar months for each year of requisite service, but may not extend more than sixty months following the last date of employment.

    (3) The presumption established in subsection (1)(c) of this section shall only apply to any active or former fire fighter who has cancer that develops or manifests itself after the fire fighter has served at least ten years and who was given a qualifying medical examination upon becoming a fire fighter that showed no evidence of cancer.  The presumption within subsection (1)(c) of this section shall only apply to primary brain cancer, malignant melanoma, leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, bladder cancer, ureter cancer, and kidney cancer.

    (4) The presumption established in subsection (1)(d) of this section shall be extended to any fire fighter who has contracted any of the following infectious diseases:  Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, all strains of hepatitis, meningococcal meningitis, or mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    (5) Beginning July 1, 2003, this section does not apply to a fire fighter who develops a heart or lung condition and who is a regular user of tobacco products or who has a history of tobacco use.  The department, using existing medical research, shall define in rule the extent of tobacco use that shall exclude a fire fighter from the provisions of this section.


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