Effect of protective filters on fire fighter respiratory health during simulated bushfire smoke exposure

De Vos, Annemarie J. B. M., Cook, Angus, Devine, Brian, Thompson, Philip J. and Weinstein, Philip (2006) Effect of protective filters on fire fighter respiratory health during simulated bushfire smoke exposure. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 49 9: 740-750. doi:10.1002/ajim.20369

Author De Vos, Annemarie J. B. M.
Cook, Angus
Devine, Brian
Thompson, Philip J.
Weinstein, Philip
Title Effect of protective filters on fire fighter respiratory health during simulated bushfire smoke exposure
Journal name American Journal of Industrial Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1097-0274
Publication date 2006-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/ajim.20369
Volume 49
Issue 9
Start page 740
End page 750
Total pages 11
Place of publication New York
Publisher Liss
Language eng
Subject 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Formatted abstract
Bushfire fighters are potentially subject to risks from bushfire smoke. Although many different protective masks and filters are available, it is not clear which is the most effective from a health and safety perspective. The effect of protective filters on the respiratory health of Western Australian urban career fire fighters under controlled simulated conditions is investigated.

Sixty-four healthy Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia (FESA) urban career fire fighters were subjected to controlled simulated bushfire smoke in an open smoke chamber for 15 min. The fire fighters were allocated one of the three types of protective filters: particulate only (P), particulate/organic vapor (POV), and a particulate/organic vapor/formaldehyde (POVF) filter using a double-blind randomized procedure. Personal air sampling inside the fire fighters' masks, spirometry, oximetry, and self-reported symptom data were collected at baseline and at two time intervals after the smoke exposure.

A significant decline in oxygen saturation was seen immediately after exposure, however, the decline was small and no significant relationships could be established between this and the type of filter used. A significantly higher number of participants in the P and POV filter groups self-reported an increase in coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath compared to the POVF group. Air sampling demonstrated a significantly higher level of formaldehyde and acrolein inside the masks fitted with P filters compared to POV and POVF filters.

Testing the effectiveness of P, POV, and POVF filters under controlled conditions has demonstrated that the POVF filter provides statistically significant better protection for the fire fighters' airways in a simulated bushfire exposure chamber. Am. J. Ind. Med. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Keyword bushfire smoke
fire fighters
occupational exposure
respiratory health
respiratory protection
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 15 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 17:51:54 EST