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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-84-454-1890, International Association of Fire Fighters, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tubbs RL; Mitchell S; Anderson KE
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 84-454-1890, 1988 May; :1-19
In response to a request from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), medical screening was conducted on 460 fire fighters from fire departments (SIC-9224) in 38 states, the District of Columbia and Canada at an IAFF Conference. Questionnaires, pulmonary function tests and audiometric tests were administered. Of those who smoked, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness were significantly more prevalent in participants with occupational smoke inhalation than for those without occupational smoke inhalation. Differences were not significant among those who did not currently smoke. Of the 453 fire fighters who had pulmonary function tests, 16 had a restrictive pattern while 26 had an obstructive pattern. No statistical association was noted between pulmonary function and years worked as a fire fighter. Some degree of hearing loss was noted in 272 of 419 individuals. A statistically significant effect on average hearing ability with the number of years in the fire services was noted. The authors conclude that the fire fighters demonstrated an increased risk of developing occupationally induced hearing loss. The authors recommend that programs for hearing conservation be implemented in fire departments including audiometric testing periodically. Use of hearing protective devices should be mandated for fire fighting operations that exceed a noise level of 90 decibels-A.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-84-454-1890; Region-5; Hazard-Confirmed; Lung-function; Cigarette-smoking; Firemen; Fire-fighting; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Hearing-loss; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Audiometry; Author Keywords: Fire Departments, including Volunteer; hearing loss; hearing conservation; smoke inhalation; pulmonary function testing
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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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