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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-83-157-1373, Fire Department, Stamford, Connecticut.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 83-157-1373, 1983 Sep; :1-9
Health complaints and possible exposures to acrylonitrile (107131) were investigated in June 1983 among 54 firefighters of the Stamford Fire Department (SIC-9224), Stamford, Connecticut. The investigation was requested by a representative of the International Association of Fire Fighters following health complaints among firemen who had battled a fire at a synthetic chemical manufacturing company. Inventory records from the company were reviewed. Bulk samples of burned gear were analyzed for chemical residues, and the exposed firefighters were questioned about health symptoms. Bulk samples contained acrylonitrile residues. Records revealed that a 1200 gallon capacity acrylonitrile reactor was kept on the main process floor of the company. Firemen were at the fire scene for up to 70 hours over several days. Respirators were not used consistently. Symptoms reported included coughing, chest tightness, breathlessness, lightheadedness, throat irritation, hoarseness, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms were consistent with the effects of exposure to acrylonitrile pyrolysis products, particularly hydrogen- cyanide (74908). The author concludes that the firefighters were exposed to pyrolysis products of acrylonitrile, especially hydrogen- cyanide. He recommends educating firefighters about chemical fire hazards, requiring the use of respirators, providing prompt medical attention whenever toxic exposures are possible, routine medical surveillance, and improved recordkeeping procedures.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazards-Confirmed; Fire-fighting; Region-1; Fire-extinguishing-agents; Respiratory-irritants; HETA-83-157-1373; Author Keywords: Fire Fighters; Acrylonitrile; Chemical Fire
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division