Today's News

Study: Ultrafine particles could increase coronary risk in firefighters (8/11)

Exposure to high levels of ultrafine particles — invisible particles that can reach the smallest air passages in the lungs — may be an important contributor to the risk of coronary heart disease in firefighters, reports a study in the August Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

More consistent use of respiratory protective equipment — especially during the “overhaul” stage of fire suppression — could reduce firefighters’ exposure to ultrafine particles, and possibly lower coronary risk.

Led by C. Stuart Baxter, PhD, of University of Cincinnati, the researchers measured levels of different sizes of respirable (breathable) particles during test fires, conducted under experimental conditions. In all types of fires, ultrafine particles — measuring less than 0.1 microns — accounted for more than 70 percent of all particles.

Levels of ultrafine particles were high throughout all stages of fire suppression — not only the “knockdown” phase, when firefighters work to extinguish the fire or limit its growth; but also during the “overhaul” phase, when the goal is to prevent the fire from reigniting. Exposure may be especially high during the overhaul phase, when firefighters often remove their respiratory protective equipment.

Coronary events are a major health issue in firefighters, causing nearly half of all deaths on duty. Exposure to ultrafine particles could contribute to coronary disease in firefighters — not only as a long-term health risk, but also as a cause of coronary events while responding to fires.

To reduce this exposure, Dr. Baxter and co-authors believe that firefighters should be encouraged to use respiratory protective equipment throughout all phases of fire suppression. They also endorse previous recommendations for medical screening to identify and manage coronary risk factors in firefighters. The authors also emphasize that more research is needed to clarify the link between exposure to ultrafine particles and coronary risk.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

4/21/15 2:00 pm EDT

The Safety Selfie: It’s time to take a “snap shot” of your safety program and contemplate what others see

We all know perception is reality and that people perceive things differently. As a safety manager, your perception of your safety program almost certainly differs from that of your workers and your managers. We will use our “Safety Selfies” to expose weaknesses, real and perceived, and to talk about how best to make improvements.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN0415_cover.jpg

2015 April

Check out ISHN's April issue, which features content about lockout-tagout, heat stress, hearing protection and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015

FDO JAN 2015 COVER

 

For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 

CHECK OUT THE JANUARY 2015 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.