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Spirometric surveillance in hazardous materials firefighters: does hazardous materials duty affect lung function?
Kales SN; Mendoza PJ; Hill JM; Christiani DC
J Occup Environ Med 2001 Dec; 43(12):1114-1120
We analyzed spirometry results for 351 male hazardous materials firefighters from 1996 to 1999 who underwent one or more annual medical surveillance/fitness for duty examinations: 276 (79%) technicians and 75 (21%) support members. Support members had a very limited potential for hazardous materials exposure and served as referents. In cross-sectional comparisons, the technicians' average forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 second were either statistically better or not significantly different from that of the support members at all four examinations. Longitudinally, no statistically significant differences were seen for forced vital capacity. The mean percent of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second decreased by 3% for technicians (P = 0.029), support controls (P = 0.433), and the total cohort (P = 0.014). Although respiratory irritants are the most common type of exposure in hazardous materials releases, the results suggest that hazardous materials technicians do not lose pulmonary function at a more accelerated rate than support team firefighters.
Humans; Men; Women; Age groups; Decontamination; Hazardous materials; Fire fighters; Spirometry; Statistical analysis; Surveillance programs; Physical fitness; Vital capacity; Respiratory irritants; Pulmonary system; Pulmonary function; Pulmonary system disorders; Respiratory system disorders
Dr Stefanos N. Kales, Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, The Cambridge Hospital, 1493 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Occupational Medicine, Cambridge Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Page last reviewed: April 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division