Woodsmoke and Firefighters

Research studies on wood smoke and other air pollution.

Woodsmoke and Firefighters

Postby Wilberforce » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:08 pm

Wood smoke exposure induces a pulmonary and systemic inflammatory response in firefighters
Swiston, et al
http://erj.ersjournals.com/content/32/1/129.abstract

Abstract

Epidemiological studies report an association between exposure to biomass smoke and cardiopulmonary morbidity. The mechanisms for this association are unclear. The aim of the present study was to characterise the acute pulmonary and systemic inflammatory effects of exposure to forest fire smoke.

Seasonal forest firefighters (n = 52) were recruited before and/or after a day of fire-fighting. Exposure was assessed by questionnaires and measurement of carbon monoxide levels (used to estimate respirable particulate matter exposure). The pulmonary response was assessed by questionnaires, spirometry and sputum induction. Peripheral blood cell counts and inflammatory cytokines were measured to define the systemic response.

Estimated respirable particulate matter exposure was high (peak levels >2 mg·m−3) during fire-fighting activities. Respiratory symptoms were reported by 65% of the firefighters. The percentage sputum granulocytes increased significantly from 6.5 to 10.9% following fire-fighting shifts, with concurrent increases in circulating white blood cells (5.55×109 to 7.06×109 cells·L−1) and band cells (0.11×109 to 0.16×109 cells·L−1). Serum interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 levels significantly increased following fire-fighting. There were no changes in band cells, IL-6, and IL-8 following strenuous physical exertion without fire-fighting. There was a significant association between changes in sputum macrophages containing phagocytosed particles and circulating band cells.

In conclusion, acute exposure to air pollution from forest fire smoke elicits inflammation within the lungs, as well as a systemic inflammatory response.
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Re: Woodsmoke and Firefighters

Postby Wilberforce » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:20 pm

Lung function changes in wildland firefighters working at prescribed burns
Adetona et al
http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10 ... 011.617790

Context: Although decline in lung function across workshift has been observed in wildland firefighters, measurements have been restricted to days when they worked at fires. Consequently, such results could have been confounded by normal circadian variation associated with lung function.

Objectives: We investigated the across-shift changes in lung function of wildland firefighters, and the effect of cumulative exposure on lung function during the burn season.

Materials and Methods: We measured forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced expiratory flow from 25% to 75% of FVC (FEF25–75), and peak expiratory flow (PEF) of wildland firefighters before and after their workshifts. In all, 501 pre-shift and 488 post-shift measurements were collected over 22 prescribed burn days and 43 non-burn days from 24 non-smoking wildland firefighters during the dormant winter burn seasons of 2003 and 2004. We compared changes in the spirometry measures across the workshift on burn days to those observed on non-burn days. We also assessed the effect of cumulative exposure during the burn season on the spirometry measures.

Results: There were no significant differences in the across workshift changes on burn days compared to those on non-burn days for all the spirometry measures. However, for a given point in time during the season, each additional day of exposure was estimated to be associated with declines of 24?ml in pre-shift FVC and 24?ml in pre-shift FEV1 (p <0.01).

Discussion and Conclusion: Cumulative exposure to woodsmoke was associated with slight decrements in lung function among the wildland firefighters.


• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis!
Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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