Lung Function Declines in Wildland Firefighters

Research studies on wood smoke and other air pollution.

Lung Function Declines in Wildland Firefighters

Postby Wilberforce » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:25 pm

Exposures and Cross-shift Lung Function Declines in Wildland Firefighters.
Gaughan et al
PDF DL ... refighters
ABSTRACT Respiratory problems are common among wildland firefighters. However, there are few studies directly linking occupational exposures to respiratory effects in this population. Our objective was to characterize wildland firefighting occupational exposures and assess their associations with cross-shift changes in lung function. We studied 17 members of the Alpine Interagency Hotshot Crew with environmental sampling and pulmonary function testing during a large wildfire. We characterized particles by examining size distribution and mass concentration, and conducting elemental and morphological analyses. We examined associations between cross-shift lung function change and various analytes, including levoglucosan, an indicator of wood smoke from burning biomass. The levoglucosan component of the wildfire aerosol showed a predominantly bimodal size distribution: a coarse particle mode with a mass median aerodynamic diameter about 12 µm and a fine particle mode with a mass median aerodynamic diameter <0.5 µm. Levoglucosan was found mainly in the respirable fraction and its concentration was higher for fire line construction operations than for mop-up operations. Larger cross-shift declines in forced expiratory volume in one second were associated with exposure to higher concentrations of respirable levoglucosan (p <0.05). Paired analyses of real-time personal air sampling measurements indicated that higher carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations were correlated with higher particulate concentrations when examined by mean values, but not by individual data points. However, low CO concentrations did not provide reliable assurance of concomitantly low particulate concentrations. We conclude that inhalation of fine smoke particles is associated with acute lung function decline in some wildland firefighters. Based on short-term findings, it appears important to address possible long-term respiratory health issues for wildland firefighters. [Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene for the following free supplemental resources: a file containing additional information on historical studies of wildland fire exposures, a file containing the daily-exposure-severity questionnaire completed by wildland firefighter participants at the end of each day, and a file containing additional details of the investigation of correlations between carbon monoxide concentrations and other measured exposure factors in the current study.].

Histoplasmosis associated with a bamboo bonfire - arkansas, october 2011.
Haselow et al
On October 27, 2011, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) was notified by a northeast Arkansas primary care provider of a cluster of three histoplasmosis cases. On November 4, ADH was notified by a pediatric infectious diseases specialist regarding seven potential cases of pulmonary histoplasmosis associated with a family gathering that included a bonfire that burned bamboo from a grove that had been a red-winged blackbird roost. These reports prompted an outbreak investigation to ensure that the persons involved received appropriate medical care, to identify whether any novel exposures were associated with illness, and to determine whether any factors were associated with hospitalization. The investigation found that, among the 19 attendees at the family gathering, seven were confirmed with histoplasmosis, 11 were probable, and one did not have histoplasmosis.
• 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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