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Chemosphere. 2013 Jun;91(10):1386-94. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.12.070. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Persistent organic pollutants including polychlorinated and polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans in firefighters from Northern California.

Author information

1
Marine Environmental Research Institute, Center for Marine Studies, P.O. Box 1652, Blue Hill, ME 04614, USA. sshaw@meriresearch.org

Erratum in

  • Chemosphere. 2014 May;102:87.

Abstract

Polychlorinated and polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs and PBDD/Fs) were measured in serum of twelve firefighters sampled after a fire event in San Francisco, California, along with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), p,p'-DDE, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), bisphenol-A (BPA) and tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA). TEQPCDD/F concentrations were relatively low (mean 5pgg(-1) (lipid weight), lw, range 1-11pgg(-1)lw), but concentrations of 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDD, a congener indicative of exposure during firefighting, were elevated. Tentative WHO2005-TEQs calculated for PBDD/Fs in our samples (mean 104pgg(-1)lw, range 0.2-734pgg(-1)lw) suggested that PBDD/Fs may contribute substantially to dioxin-like toxicity in individual firefighters. PBDE concentrations were elevated in firefighter serum (mean 135ngg(-1)lw, range 48-442ngg(-1)lw). PBDE-209, PBDE-47 and PBDE-153 were prevalent congeners; PBDE-209 contributed >50% of the total PBDE concentration in four individuals, implying continuous occupational exposure to deca-BDE. Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) was the dominant PFC in serum (mean 12ngml(-1) (wet weight), ww, range 3ngml(-1)ww to 59ngml(-1)ww), followed by perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (mean 7ngml(-1)ww, range 2ngml(-1)ww to 12ngml(-1)ww). Concentrations of perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) (mean 2ngml(-1)ww, range 1-4ngml(-1)ww) were higher than those reported in the high-smoke exposure group of World Trade Center fire responders, suggesting that the California firefighters were exposed to PFNA in smoke during firefighting. Given their elevated rates of cancers, these results illustrate the importance of monitoring halogenated contaminants including PBDD/Fs in firefighters.

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