Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) are unintentional byproducts of combustion and industrial processes. Firefighters face the risk of occupational exposure to PCDD/Fs. Congener-specific analyses of 17 PCDD/Fs were performed on 20 serum samples collected from firefighters and fire scene investigators, and four soot samples that had deposited on the surfaces of the fire helmets and were collected after the firefighters had fought fires. The PCDD/F concentrations on the helmets that were contaminated by being worn at the fire scenes were 63-285 times higher than those on a clean helmet. The median serum PCDD/F concentration of the 16 firefighters (12pg WHO2005-TEQg-1lipid) was not different from those of the males from the general Taiwanese population (9.4pg WHO2005-TEQg-1 lipid). However, the median PCDD/F level in the four fire scene investigators (15pg WHO2005-TEQg-1 lipid) was higher than those in the male from the general Taiwanese population (Mann-Whitney U test, p<0.01). Furthermore, the serum samples from the firefighters and fire scene investigators, and the soot samples from the fire scenes presented similarly distinctive PCDD/F profiles that had elevated proportions for 10 PCDF congeners. Limited data indicated that the fire scene investigators were occupationally exposed to PCDD/Fs at the fire scenes. We suggested that the firefighters were not occupationally exposed to PCDD/Fs at the fire scenes due to appropriate protection. However, the fire scene investigators may have had more occupational exposure to PCDD/Fs due to poor protection, and further research must be performed to confirm this.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis