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Exposure characterization of fire investigators at the fire scene.

Kinnes GM; Hine G
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1998 May; :43
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provided technical assistance to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) through the Health Hazard Evaluation Program. The ATF trains a select number of special agents as fire investigators to investigate fire scenes as part of its arson enforcement program. Environmental monitoring was conducted at two actual fire scenes and three staged fires to characterize the exposures encountered. Previous literature has described the exposures encountered. by firefighters during fire suppression. However, only limited information on exposure is available during fire investigations, when self-contained supplied air respirators are typically not worn. Area air and personal breathing zone samples were collected and analyzed for hydrogen cyanide, inorganic acids, aldehydes, elemental carbon, total and respirable dust, volatile organic compounds, metals, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition, a Grimm portable dust monitor was used to obtain real-time dust measurements and particle size distribution. Low or trace concentrations, between the analytical limit of detection and quantitation, were found for most of the analytes. However, formaldehyde was detected at concentrations up to 0.18 ppm, and several PAHs were detected. Total and respirable dust were also detected at concentrations up to 5.3 and 1.3 mg/m3, respectively. The Grimm indicated that total dust peak concentrations up to 30 mg/m3 were possible. The mass median aerodynamic dust diameters extended from 6.1 micrometers (sg=3.1) to 12 micrometers (sg=2.5). These results indicate that dust generated during these activities can be respirable and inhalable, and that appropriate respiratory protection, such as air-purifying respirators, should be used.
Fire-hazards; Environmental-contamination; Environmental-exposure; Fire-protection; Fire-safety; Employee-exposure; Air-sampling; Air-quality-monitoring; Breathing-zone; Sampling; Cyanides; Inorganic-acids; Polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbons; Metals; Volatiles; Respirable-dust; Inhalants; Acids; Aldehydes; Dust-measurement; Formaldehydes; Particle-aerodynamics; Particulate-dust; Air-purifying-respirators; Personal-protective-equipment; Respirators
74-90-8; 7440-44-0; 50-00-0
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division