Student Research: Lynne Pinkerton

, , 1993
Faculty Advisor: William E. Daniell

Pulmonary Function in Seattle Firefighters


The association between fire smoke exposure and pulmonary function was studied cross-sectionally among Seatttle firefighters participating in a voluntary medical surveillance program between 1988 and 1991. Each firefighter's cumulative fire smoke exposure was estimated by weighting periods of firefighting experience by the average expected level of smoke exposure at each job assignment and work station. Among white male firefighters (n=569), front-line firefighting at the busiest level of station activity was associated with a 10 ml loss in FEV1 (p=0.09) and a 13 ml loss in FVC (p=0.08) after adjusting for age, height, and smoking. The predicted loss in FEV1 and FVC associated with fire smoke exposure was greater than that associated with cigarette smoking. FEF25-75 was not associated with cumulative fire smoke exposure. This study supports previous studies which suggest that firefighters may suffer pulmonary injury as a result of their occupational exposure.