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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-84-484-1754, Detroit fire fighters, Detroit, Michigan.
Anderson KE; Melius JM
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 84-484-1754, 1986 Dec; :1-15
In response to a request from the International Association of Fire Fighters on behalf of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, Detroit, Michigan, a health hazard evaluation was made of respiratory symptoms and skin irritation in fire fighters involved in a large fire and explosion at a warehouse. Over 200 fire fighters from fire fighting organizations (SIC-9224) in three communities were involved in the incident. Environmental samples were collected subsequent to the fire and analyzed for pesticides and solvents. The final group evaluated comprised 135 males. The survey, done 2 months after the fire, involved a self administered medical questionnaire and spirometric pulmonary function tests. Site runoff water contained chlordane (57749) and malathion (121755) in low parts per million; other samples were negative. Nose and throat irritation, cough, and shortness of breath were experienced by a large proportion of fire fighters following the fire, and in 14, 15, and 17 percent, respectively, symptoms persisted over 2 months. Symptoms were significantly associated with time spent at the scene and time spent in heavy smoke. Pulmonary function tests were abnormal in 14 cases, ten due to obstructive lung disease, three to restrictive lung disease, and one to a combination. The authors conclude that better protective equipment is needed for fire fighters at chemical fires. Recommendations include development of a hazardous materials response team, and implementation of a routine medical surveillance program.
NIOSH-Author; HETA-84-484-1754; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Region-5; Hazard-Confirmed; Firemen; Fire-fighting; Clinical-symptoms; Smoke-inhalation; Organic-chemicals; Pulmonary-function-tests; Skin-irritants; Respiratory-irritants; Author Keywords: Fire Protection; Fire Fighters; Chemical Fires; Smoke Inhalation
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