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FIREFIGHTING, 1 Exposure Data,1 1 Activities and tasks of firefighters. The terms firefighting and firefighters are broad and encompass several types of. fire scenarios such as municipal wildland industrial aviation military and oil wells . Some municipal firefighters may be permanently assigned to tasks other than fighting. fires including fire scene investigation i e the investigation of suspected criminal fires. started by arsonists hazardous material response building safety inspections or. technical and administrative support These individuals may or may not have experience. fighting fires and may or may not be working for municipal fire departments In addition . municipal firefighters are increasingly being called upon for emergency medical response . Finally the term firemen may refer either to firefighters or to individuals who operate. and maintain equipment for power generation e g steam boilers heating ventilation . humidity control refrigeration and air conditioning Workers in this latter category are. also referred to as stationary engineers or stationary firemen Decoufle et al 1977 . and are not considered in this monograph , There are two more or less distinct phases in municipal structural firefighting . knockdown and overhaul During knockdown firefighters control and extinguish the fire . Approximately 90 of municipal structural fires are either extinguished within 5 . 10 minutes or abandoned and fought from the outside This results in an average duration. of heavy physical activity at fires of approximately 10 minutes Gempel Burgess 1977 . Gilman Davis 1993 Knockdown of large fires may last much longer During. overhaul any remaining small fires are extinguished The environment during overhaul is. not as hot or as smoky as during knockdown but it still contains products of combustion. from small fires or smouldering material Exposure can differ widely between the two. phases of firefighting The determination of when overhaul begins varies from one fire. department to another and is often left to the judgement of individual firefighters or. group leaders Jankovic et al 1991 Austin et al 2001a Municipal structural fires may. 398 IARC MONOGRAPHS VOLUME 98, be fought in aggressive attack mode during knockdown or defensively from the outside . In the past firefighters may have more often attempted to enter a burning structure to. fight the fire For safety reasons however modern fire departments are increasingly. adopting a defensive approach unless there are human victims inside the building . A municipal fire department is composed of 1st line firefighters pump ladder and. rescue crews and operations chiefs and 2nd line firefighters drivers and division chiefs . Combat firefighters assigned to pump trucks ladder trucks or rescue trucks perform tasks. specific to each of those crews In some municipalities there is movement of firefighters. between different firehalls while in others a firefighter is assigned to the same crew at. the same firehall for most of his or her career It is conceivable that there would be. differences in exposures between pump truck and ladder truck crews although no such. difference was observed in one older study Gold et al 1978 . In addition to fighting accidental fires and criminal fires firefighters and firefighter. recruits may be involved in training fires staged in buildings or simulators Hill et al . 1972 describe a permanent structure used for training purposes where approximately. 5500 litres of diesel fuel was burned in the lower portion of the building . Analogous to knockdown and overhaul wildland firefighting also comprises two. phases referred to as attack and mop up Attack at a wildland fire generally extends. over a long period of time one fire lasting hours days or weeks The frequency of. aggressive strategies and tactics by firefighters may increase where there is an attempt to. save residential developments Municipal firefighters may also be called upon to fight. wildland fires within or adjacent to municipal limits . Both municipal firefighters and wildland firefighters engage in heavy work activity at. fires In particular wildland firefighters who use hand tools and carry a considerable. amount of equipment with them engage in heavy work activity levels while fighting forest. fires Budd et al 1997 Ruby et al 2002 Typical tasks include hiking fire line. construction chainsaw work and brush removal As a result the amount of chemicals. inhaled is greater for a firefighter at heavy work levels without respiratory protection than. for a worker engaged in regular levels of work Reh Deitchman 1992 Reh et al . 1994 This needs to be taken into consideration when comparing exposure levels to. occupational exposure limits that were developed assuming regular work levels . Also studies relating to municipal firefighters usually do not distinguish between the. different categories of exposed and unexposed firefighters or between the different task. assignments , FIREFIGHTING 399,1 2 Composition of fire smoke. 1 2 1 Fire chemistry, Smoke from fires comprises suspended liquid and solid particulate matter gases and.
vapours that result from the combustion or pyrolysis of material There is a very large. number of toxic components in smoke for reviews see Tuve 1985 Meyer 1989 . DiNenno et al 2002 C t 2003 The basic form of the overall combustion reaction of. organic carbon containing compounds is illustrated by the burning of methane . CH4 2O2 Energy of activation CO2 2H2O Heat of combustion Light. Given the appropriate ratio of fuel wood solvent plastic rubber oxygen and. combustion temperature the products of combustion should be only water and carbon. dioxide CO2 , Complete combustion is approached only under carefully controlled conditions . Uncontrolled or unintentional combustion tends to be fuel rich and therefore. incomplete The combustion of methane CH4 illustrates the formation of free radicals in. an 11 step chain reaction the first two of which are . CH4 CH3 H , H O2 OH O , The free radicals formed during combustion are very reactive and side reactions are. propagated to yield hundreds of chemical products and smoke . Most polymers found in buildings will burn or thermally degrade to simpler. monomers Thermal degradation products include methane ethane ethylene benzene . toluene and ethylbenzene in addition to the following monomers ethylene vinyl. chloride acrylonitrile tetrafluoroethylene styrene methyl methacrylate ethylene glycol . terephthalic acid phenol formaldehyde hexamethylenediamine adipic acid propene . vinyl chloride vinyl acetate vinylidene chloride chloroprene 1 3 butadiene ethyl. acrylate ethylene oxide methylacrylate urea phenol and isoprene . The burning of plastics typically produces voluminous amounts of soot together with. higher levels of hydrogen cyanide HCN hydrochloric acid HCl and acrolein. CH2 CHCHO than the burning of materials such as wood and fossil fuels More smoke. evolves from fires involving aromatic polymers such as polystyrene compared to. aliphatic polymers such as polyethylene , In addition to the chemical agents described above particulate matter is produced. under conditions of incomplete combustion The particulate matter is an aerosol. consisting of condensed phase components of the products of combustion and finely. divided carbon particulates that have not undergone combustion but remain suspended in. the air Although the particles themselves are microscopic in size 0 3 1 6 m they. 400 IARC MONOGRAPHS VOLUME 98, rapidly coalesce and thereby become visible These particles are also adsorbents similar. to activated charcoal and are an additional vehicle for the transport and inhalation of. toxic combustion products Smouldering yields a substantially higher conversion of fuel. to toxic compounds than does flaming although it occurs more slowly Ohlemiller . 1 2 2 Modern versus pre modern fires, All types of fire release toxic and carcinogenic substances including benzene 1 3 .
butadiene and formaldehyde The focus has generally been on substances having short . term acute effects carbon monoxide CO carbon dioxide hydrogen cyanide nitrogen. oxides NOx sulfur dioxide SO2 and hydrogen chloride With the increasing use of. polymers in building construction and furnishings there is concern that the burning of. these new materials might release large quantities of other highly toxic substances Austin. et al 2001b , Combustion and pyrolysis products from newer building materials and furnishings were. believed to be more toxic than smoke from fires in buildings built before these materials. became commonplace and more toxic than smoke from wildland fires Betol et al 1983 . Alarie 1985 However many of the carcinogenic products of combustion identified are. volatile organic compounds and are common to most burning materials In a more recent. study no new or unusual non polar volatile organic compounds VOCs were observed in. current structural fires compared to the combustion of wood Austin et al 2001b 2001c . Adding polyvinyl chloride PVC to the fire load at simulated apartment fires was observed. to significantly increase levels of polychlorinated phenols IARC Group 2B while. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon PAH levels remained essentially unchanged Ruokoj rvi. et al 2000 The increases in levels of polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs 0 021 to 0 031. mg m3 polychlorinated benzenes 0 002 to 0 010 mg m3 and I TEQs or PCDD F 3 5 to. 5 4 ng m3 as products of combustion were not significant possibly due to the small sample. size In another study proportionately higher levels of ethyl benzene IARC Group 2B . were found at an electronics factory fire when compared to levels at residential and mixed. occupancy fires Austin et al 2001b , The emission of combustion products in mg per kg of material burned for the same. material varies greatly depending on combustion conditions such as ventilation oxygen. supply temperature and heating rate Nonetheless the relative amounts of the various non . polar VOCs found in smoke at municipal structural fires have been found to be remarkably. similar from fire to fire namely with the same 14 of 144 target compounds dominated by. benzene IARC Group 1 toluene and naphthalene IARC Group 2B Austin et al 2001b . 1 2 3 Carcinogens found in smoke at fires, Table 1 1 lists the agents in Groups 1 2A and 2B that have been detected at fires in. one or more studies together with corresponding IARC evaluations human and animal. evidence of carcinogenicity and for the agents in Group 1 the cancer sites in humans . Table 1 1 IARC evaluations and cancer sites in humans of chemicals measured at fires. Chemicals measured at fires Overall Human Animal Volume Cancer sites in humans. evaluation evidence evidence For Group 1 agents only . Acetaldehyde 2B Inadequate Sufficient 36 Suppl 7 71. Arsenic 1 Sufficient Limited 23 Suppl 7 Skin lung liver angiosarcoma . Asbestos 1 Sufficient Sufficient 14 Suppl 7 Lung mesothelioma larynx . gastrointestinal tract, Benz a anthracene 2B Inadequate Sufficient 32 Suppl 7 92. Benzene 1 Sufficient Limited 29 Suppl 7 Leukaemia, Benzo b fluoranthene 2B No data Sufficient 32 Suppl 7 92.
Benzo k fluoranthene 2B No data Sufficient 32 Suppl 7 92. FIREFIGHTING,Benzofuran coumarone 2B No data Sufficient 63. Benzo a pyrene 1 No data Sufficient 32 Suppl 7 92 Lung bladder skin. 1 3 Butadiene 1 Sufficient Sufficient 71 97 Lymphohaematopoietic system. Cadmium 1 Sufficient Sufficient 58 Lung,Carbon black total 2B Inadequate Sufficient 65 93. Chrysene 2B Inadequate Sufficient 3 32 Suppl 7 92, Dibenz a h anthracene 2A Inadequate Sufficient 32 Suppl 7 92. Dichloromethane methylene chloride 2B Indadequate Sufficient 71. Ethylbenzene 2B Inadequate Sufficient 77, Formaldehyde 1 Sufficient Sufficient 88 Nasopharynx nasal sinuses and. leukaemia suggested ,Furan 2B Inadequate Sufficient 63.
402,Table 1 1 contd , Chemicals measured at fires Overall Human Animal Volume Cancer sites in humans. evaluation evidence evidence For Group 1 agents only . Indeno 1 2 3 cd pyrene 2B Inadequate Sufficient 32 Suppl 7 92. Isoprene 2B Not available Sufficient 60 71,Lead 23 Suppl 7 87. Lead compounds organic 3 Inadequate Inadequate 23 Suppl 7 87. IARC MONOGRAPHS VOLUME 98, Lead compounds inorganic 2A Limited Sufficient 23 Suppl 7 87. Naphthalene 2B Inadequate Sufficient 82,2 Nitroamisole 2B Inadequate Sufficient 65. Polychlorophenols 2B Limited 41 Suppl 7 53 , Pentachlorophenol Sufficient.
2 4 6 Trichlorophenol Limited, Polychlorinated biphenyls aroclor 54 2A Limited Sufficient 18 Suppl 7. chlorodiphenyl ,Polychlorinated dibenzodioxinsa see. Radioactivity activity 1 Sufficient Sufficient 78 All sites combined. Radionuclides particle emitting 1 Sufficient Sufficient 78 All sites combined. Radionuclides particle emitting 1 Sufficient Sufficient 78 All sites combined. Silica crystalline 1 Sufficient 68 Lung,Silica amorphous 3 Inadequate Inadequate 68. Table 1 1 contd , Chemicals measured at fires Overall Human Animal Volume Cancer sites in humans. evaluation evidence evidence For Group 1 agents only . Styrene 2B Limited Limited 60 82,Sulfuric acid 1 Sufficient No data 54.
2 3 7 8 tetrachloro dibenzo para dioxin 1 Limited Sufficient 69 All sites combined lung non Hodgkin. lymphoma sarcoma, Tetrachloroethylene perchloroethylene 2A Limited Su. In the past firefighters may have more often attempted to enter a burning structure to fight the fire For safety reasons however modern fire departments are increasingly adopting a defensive approach unless there are human victims inside the building A municipal fire department is composed of 1st line firefighters pump ladder and

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