Personal PM2.5 exposures for firefighters doing prescribed forest burns in the Southeastern United States
Carlton, Cameron Strauther
MetadataShow full item record
Exposure to PM2.5 during prescribed forest burn operations was studied in winter 2003 in a cohort of 10 forest fighters over a five-week study in the Southeastern United States. Individual work shift samples (n=54) were collected during burn activities and 5 during non-burn activities (controls). Over the five-week study, there were 10 days of prescribed burn activity when fire fighters were sampled, with 5-7 (Avg=5.4) monitored per burn, and burn sizes ranged from 1 to 2042 acres. Average PM2.5 concentration from the 54 samples was 0.36 mg/m3 (range 0.006-1.7 mg/m3 ). A daily exposure questionnaire and time-activity log was administered daily post-shift to qualitatively assess worker exposure to smoke and to inquire regarding daily respiratory health symptoms (e.g., cough, phlegm). The results of this study are consistent with earlier studies demonstrating prescribed forest burn-related occupational exposures to PM2.5 are of concern for firefighters and warrant further exposure and health effects studies.