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Biological monitoring of smoke exposure among wildland firefighters: a pilot study comparing urinary methoxyphenols with personal exposures to carbon monoxide, particular matter, and levoglucosan.

Neitzel R; Naeher LP; Paulsen M; Dunn K; Stock A; Simpson CD
J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 2009 May-Jun; 19(4):349-358
Urinary methoxyphenols (MPs) have been proposed as biomarkers of woodsmoke exposure. However, few field studies have been undertaken to evaluate the relationship between woodsmoke exposure and urinary MP concentrations. We conducted a pilot study at the US Forest Service - Savannah River Site, in which carbon monoxide (CO), levoglucosan (LG), and particulate matter (PM2.5) exposures were measured in wildland firefighters on prescribed burn days. Pre- and post-shift urine samples were collected from each subject, and cross-shift changes in creatinine-corrected urinary MP concentrations were calculated. Correlations between exposure measures and creatine-adjusted urinary MP concentrations were explored, and regression models were developed relating changes in urinary MP concentrations to measured exposure levels. Full-shift measurements were made on 13 firefighters over 20 work shifts in winter 2004 at the US Forest Service Savannah River site, a National Environmental Research Park. The average workshift length across the 20 measured shifts was 701+/-95 min. LG and CO exposures were significantly correlated for samples where the filter measurement captured at least 60% of the work shift (16 samples), as well as for the smaller set of full-shift exposure samples (n=9). PM2.5 and CO exposures were not significantly correlated, and LG and PM2.5 exposures were only significantly correlated for samples representing at least 60% of the work shift. Creatinine-corrected urinary concentrations for 20 of the 22 MPs showed cross-shift increases, with 14 of these changes showing statistical significance. Individual and summed creatinine-adjusted guaiacol urinary MPs were highly associated with CO (and, to a lesser degree, LG) exposure levels, and random-effects regression models including CO and LG exposure levels explained up to 80% of the variance in cross-shift changes in summed creatinine-adjusted guaiacol urinary MP concentrations. Although limited by the small sample size, this pilot study demonstrates that urinary MP concentrations may be effective biomarkers of occupational exposure to wood smoke among wildland firefighters.
Fire-fighters; Urinalysis; Biomarkers; Smoke-inhalation; Polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbons; Particulates; Nitrogen-dioxides; Volatiles; Organic-compounds; Mathematical-models; Author Keywords: biological monitoring; wood smoke; wildland firefighters; exposure assessment
Professor C.D. Simpson PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Health Sciences Building, F226C, Box 357234, Seattle, WA 98195-7234
630-08-0; 10102-44-0
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Journal Article
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Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
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Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington
Page last reviewed: August 26, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division