Daily and Long-Term Hazards Staying safe is a constant concern for a chimney sweep. Not only are we on roofs, in attics, and crawl spaces, we also have to worry about the hazardous long-term effects of creosote to our bodies and prevent inhalation and interaction as much as possible. Creosote is a natural byproduct of combustion but it comes with a nasty side effect for humans with long-term exposure to it, cancer. Skin cancer, lung cancer, and testicular cancer are the most common for a chimney Sweep to content with. Skin cancer from constant cleaning and repairing systems covered in creosote and let’s not forget clothing. Lung cancer from inhaling creosote while sweeping a system or even after the service with soot floating around in the work vehicle. Testicular cancer you would think would be the strange one but take into consideration the amount of creosote that can get trapped under fingernails and then where do guys often scratch unfortunately? You guessed it.. Prevention and Other Considerations During a chimney sweep you will probably see me change gloves multiple times, wear different jump suits depending on the system, and a full face respiratory mask for my lungs. Even with the preventions I have in place, it is impossible not to come into contact with creosote throughout the day. That is where the second layer of prevention comes into place, six month health checkups and removing and cleaning everything on a daily basis. So when considering becoming a chimney sweep, remember that you will most likely be a independent contractor and not have health insurance or short-term disability if you become sick or injured. Look into these costs along with the costs of liability insurance BEFORE you get into the industry. You would be surprised how much those costs add up and must be factored into the price of a service! Mike the Chimney Guy