A Novel Approach for Measuring Firefighters' Occupationally-Related Chemical Exposures

Principal Investigator: Carlos Poston

Occupational exposures are assumed to play a role in the cancer and cardiovascular disease risks among firefighters. Limited methodologies exist for monitoring chemical exposures, such as measuring metabolites in blood and urine, sampling smoke plumes, and having firefighters maintain diaries. However, the majority of firefighter disease risk studies have used simple surrogates for exposure, most often just job title. Unfortunately, even the more intensive methods represent an incomplete assessment of chemical exposure, are cost prohibitive, labor intensive, and often impractical. As a result, firefighter’s often do not know what chemicals they may have been exposed to at a fire call. Our multidisciplinary team of researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) has developed a new suite of exposure measurement technologies and have applied them successfully to answer similar questions in other occupations. We propose to partner with occupational health, epidemiology, and outcomes researchers at the NDRI for Fire, Rescue, and EMS Health Research (CFREHR) to test the transferability of these technologies to the fire service.

For more information: Abstract

  • About NDRI
          Since 1967, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, has conducted substance use and other bio-behavioral research nationwide and throughout the world.

          Drawing on the expertise of our interdisciplinary professional staff and our partners such as medical centers, treatment and prevention programs, universities, CBOs, industry and government NDRI has advanced public health across diverse populations including high-risk and underserved persons, uniformed services, youth and veterans.

          In addition to its focus on addiction, NDRI, organized under specialized institutes, has generated scientific discoveries associated with infectious diseases (particularly HIV and Hepatitis C), overdose, chronic pain, prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer, tobacco control and criminal justice.

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