August 11, 2022

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65% of U.S. volunteer firefighters have more ‘permanent chemicals’ in their bodies

65% of U.S. volunteer firefighters have more ‘permanent chemicals’ in their bodies than the average person



 

 

65% of U.S. volunteer firefighters have more ‘permanent chemicals’ in their bodies than the average person

Volunteer firefighters, who make up more than 65 percent of U.S. fire departments, have higher levels of perfluorinated and polyfluoroalkylated compounds (PFAS), or “permanent chemicals,” than the general public, according to a new Rutgers University study.

The study, published today in the journal Environmental Research and Public Health , compared the levels of nine PFAS chemicals in the blood of volunteer firefighters with the average person.

 

This is also the first study of volunteer firefighters’ exposure to PFAS, chemicals that build up in the human body and the environment and are found in everyday items such as carpets, electronics and nonstick cookware.

PFAS is associated with many health conditions that affect firefighters, including cardiovascular disease. Evidence is mounting linking these “permanent chemicals” to cancer.

 

 

65% of U.S. volunteer firefighters have more 'permanent chemicals' in their bodies than the average person

 

 

“The leading cause of firefighters’ deaths in the line of duty is heart attack. They are also more Others are more likely to die from many types of cancer. More than 95 percent of the U.S. population has these chemicals in their bodies to some degree, but firefighters use their protective gear and fire fighting foams and the burning materials they encounter that release particles Increased exposure to PFAS, particles that can be inhaled or deposited on equipment and skin.”

 

65% of U.S. volunteer firefighters have more 'permanent chemicals' in their bodies than the average person 65% of U.S. volunteer firefighters have more 'permanent chemicals' in their bodies than the average person

 

 

The study surveyed 135 members of a volunteer fire department in New Jersey about their lifestyle and cancer risk factors, and compared their blood traces of nine PFAS chemicals with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) national population records levels were compared.

The Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which tracks the health of a nationally representative sample of 5,000 people each year.

While there are more than 4,000 PFAS chemicals, the study looked at the nine chemicals that the CDC has tracked the longest and are most commonly found in the general population.

 

The researchers found that the two chemicals studied — perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoA) and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) — were found in higher levels among volunteer firefighters. “It’s worth noting that we found PFDoA levels in 80 percent of firefighters, but very few in the general public,” Graber said.

 

Higher chemistry levels were also associated with years of firefighting; the average participant had 20 years of experience.

Because they’re always on call, volunteer firefighters may accumulate more years of fire-related exposure than their professional counterparts, Graber said.

 

“The number one risk firefighters face is being protected from fire,” Graber said. “The chemicals used in firefighting foam and protective clothing for firefighters were invented 40 years ago when people thought they were safe and they could Works well. Further research is now needed to better understand where these chemicals come from, and to design effective foams and protective clothing that don’t use them.”

 

 

 

 

65% of U.S. volunteer firefighters have more ‘permanent chemicals’ in their bodies than the average person

(source:internet, reference only)


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