Monday, 05 February 2007 15:12

Lymphona survivor cautions shops of cancer dangers

Written by Autobody News staff
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I-CAR volunteer Steve Carey is a man on a mission. Ever since he was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago, he’s been building a support system for others in the collision industry that have the disease.

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. One of the causes is benzene, which is a carcinogen found in many paints, lacquers, and thinners.

After some research on his part, Carey discovered that lymphoma is a type of cancer that may be showing up in the collision industry workforce. As a result, Carey is asking anyone diagnosed with cancer or specifically lymphoma, to contact him.

Right now Carey is working with the CDC, Environmental Protection Agency and NIOSH, a division of OSHA, to determine how widespread it is within the industry.

This is an effort to develop additional best practices and safety standards and possibly apply for grants and other funding to get the word out and start research into prevention and cures.Carey said he would also like to get a fund together for men and women in the industry to help with living expenses, medical costs, and other expenses.

 Carey wants to caution collision industry professionals who work around these dangerous materials every day.

 “Auto body professionals should wear all of the required protective gear, including masks, eye protection, and gloves to avoid getting paint and chemicals on their skin. Benzene and other toxic substances can be absorbed through the skin as well as inhaled,” said Carey.

 He also recommends regular check ups and physicals, since a drop in white cell counts could indicate a bigger problem.

 Carey wants to be clear that this is not a smear campaign and he is not trying to place blame with paint companies.

 “I want to find a positive way to implement protections in repair facilities and raise funds to help cancer patients and their families,” Carey said.

Carey is an active I-CAR volunteer and has served for nine years as the I-CAR District Chairman of Committee #0322 in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also a founder and vice president of Jacksonville Collision Repair Educational Foundation. Under his leadership, the committee has built a relationship with Florida Community College at Jacksonville, bringing I-CAR curriculum there, and establishing qualification tests at the college.

 If you or a loved one are currently battling cancer, or are now cancer-free and would like to share your story, please contact Carey at chairmanjaxicar@msn.com. All information shared will be kept confidential.

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