Assessing the Cardiovascular and Chemical Risks Faced by Firefighters

New Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health

June 23, 2021

gloved hands using taking blood samples from a human arm

The Characterizing exposures to flame retardants, dioxins, and furans among firefighters responding to controlled residential fires peer-reviewed journal article, led by Alex Mayer, Kenny Fent and colleagues from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) with contributions by Gavin Horn and Steve Kerber from UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI), was recently published in International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. The paper summarizes a set of experiments conducted to understand the impact of fireground job assignment (interior vs. exterior vs overhaul operations) at a simulated residential room and contents fire on firefighters’ exposures and biological absorption of chemical flame retardants used in modern furnishings, and how long these compounds may remain in the body after the fire. It reports the biological levels of organophosphate flame retardants (OPFR) metabolites (in urine), and poly-brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), brominated and chlorinated furans, and chlorinated dioxins (in serum) in firefighters responding to controlled residential fire scenarios with modern home furnishings.

This manuscript is derived from a component of the collaborative Cardiovascular & Chemical Exposure Risks in Today’s Fire Service project. More specifically, this portion of the study follows directly from the airborne & PPE contamination concentrations measured and described in the “Flame retardants, dioxins, and furans in air and on firefighters’ protective ensembles during controlled residential firefighting” manuscript. 

UL FSRI partnered with NIOSH, Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI Research), Skidmore College, and National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) to publish this manuscript. Funding for this project was provided by the Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant #EMW-2013-FP-00766 and #EMW-2016-FP-00379, with additional support from the National Toxicology Program (AES15002).

Click here to read the article.

About International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health

The International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health serves as a multidisciplinary forum for original reports on exposure assessment and the reactions to and consequences of human exposure to the biological, chemical, and physical environment. Research reports, short communications, reviews, scientific comments, technical notes, and editorials will be peer-reviewed before acceptance for publication. Priority will be given to articles on epidemiological aspects of environmental toxicology, health risk assessments, susceptible (sub) populations, sanitation and clean water, human biomonitoring, environmental medicine, and public health aspects of exposure-related outcomes.